AbbVie stands by 2020 profit forecast as Humira boosts results

Drugmaker set to close $63bn acquisition of Irish-headquartered Allergan this month

AbbVie stuck with its 2020 adjusted profit forecast on Friday after strong demand for its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug, Humira, helped it beat analysts' estimates for quarterly profit and sales.

The forecast of $9.61 to $9.71 per share in full-year earnings assumes that “stay-at-home” orders will be gradually lifted, starting this month in Europe and United States, the company said.

But Citi analyst Andrew Baum called out the assumption as "an optimistic assessment", given where we currently stand in terms of tackling the health crisis.

AbbVie, which employs around 700 people in Ireland across five plants, said its total sales for the quarter to March 31st were also slightly boosted by customers stockpiling its treatments.


The company also said it had initiated a mid-stage trial of cancer drug Imbruvica, which it jointly sold with Johnson & Johnson, testing it in patients with moderate-to-severe Covid-19.

The drugmaker, which is expected to close its $63 billion acquisition of Irish-headquartered Botox-maker Allergan later this month, has been launching new drugs to offset some of the expected drop in sales of Humira sales, the world's top-selling drug whose US patent is set to expire in 2023.

AbbVie’s total sales rose 10.1 per cent to $8.62 billion in the first quarter, above analysts’ estimates of $8.33 billion. Profit rose to $3.01 billion, or $2.02 per share, from $2.45 billion, or $1.65 per share, a year earlier. – Reuters