July 26, 2019 / 11:44 AM / 5 months ago

AbbVie raises 2019 profit target as quarterly sales beat estimates

July 26 (Reuters) - Drugmaker AbbVie Inc on Friday raised its earnings forecast for the year and beat Wall Street estimates for second-quarter revenue, as sales of its top-selling drug Humira did not fall as much as analysts had feared.

Last month, AbbVie announced a $63 billion takeover deal for Botox-maker Allergan Plc, which it hopes will cushion the impact of biosimilar competition to Humira that treats rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. The drug has been under fire from cheap rivals in Europe and faces patent expiration in the United States, its biggest market, in 2023.

Last year, Humira generated nearly $20 billion in revenue, while the world's second best-selling drug, Celgene Corp's Revlimid, brought in roughly half.

(For an interactive graphic on Humira sales, click here: tmsnrt.rs/2Mi1Mwm)

In the quarter ended June 30, biosimilar competition outside the United States caused overall Humira sales to slip about 6% to $4.87 billion, but it still beat the $4.80 billion forecast by five analysts polled by Refinitiv IBES.

U.S. sales for Humira rose 7.7% to $3.79 billion, but revenue outside the country slumped 35.2% to $1.08 billion.

Cancer drug Imbruvica, AbbVie's second-bestseller, brought in $1.10 billion, in line with expectations.

For 2019, the company raised it adjusted earnings per share forecast to between $8.82 and $8.92 from a prior range of $8.73 to $8.83.

Net earnings in the reported quarter fell about 63% to $741 million, or 49 cents per share, as AbbVie recorded a $2.28 billion charge related to future payments associated with plaque psoriasis drug Skyrizi.

Skyrizi, on which the company has partnered with German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim, won U.S. approval in April and brought in sales of $48 million for AbbVie.

Excluding items, AbbVie earned $2.26 per share.

Net revenue fell slightly to $8.26 billion from $8.28 billion, but handily beat the average analyst estimate of $8.10 billion.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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