Abbott Laboratories and its drug-company spinoff AbbVie Inc. both gained as their shares traded on the open market for the first time as separate businesses.
Abbott shares climbed 2.3 percent to $32.05 at the close in New York, giving the company a market value of about $50.7 billion. AbbVie shares gained 2.8 percent to $35.12 for a valuation of $55.5 billion. The stocks had traded on a when-issued basis in December.
Abbott split the Abbott Park, Illinois-based company in two because the drug and diversified products units grew into distinct business lines, Chief Executive Officer Miles White has said. Breaking them up will enable investors to better value the businesses, he said when the decision was announced in 2011. AbbVie touted its product range, including products for rheumatoid arthritis and testosterone.
“With those assets and a relentless focus on innovation we intend to create significant value for our shareholders,” said Richard Gonzalez, AbbVie’s CEO, said in a statement today.
Abbott’s top products include cardiac stents, nutrition items and diagnostic tests. The split will get Abbott out from under the shadow of Humira, the anti-inflammatory injection that is the world’s best-selling medicine with $7.93 billion in 2011 sales. It made up 20 percent of the company’s sales that year.
AbbVie is exploring new indications for Humira beyond rheumatoid arthritis, and won U.S. approval to market the drug for ulcerative colitis last year. The North Chicago, Illinois-based drugmaker also is testing therapies to treat hepatitis C and has a rheumatoid arthritis pill in development with Belgian drugmaker Galapagos NV.