AbbVie Profit Beats Estimates as Sales of Humira Increase

AbbVie Inc., the drugmaker that split from Abbott Laboratories in January, reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as sales of its top drug Humira increased. The company raised the bottom end of its full-year forecast.

Earnings excluding one-time items of 82 cents a share beat by 4 cents the average of 10 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Full-year earnings excluding certain items are expected to be $3.11 to $3.13 a share, the North Chicago, Illinois-based company said today in a statement.

AbbVie generates more than half its revenue from Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis injection that sold $9.27 billion in 2012. Humira insulates the company from the patent losses that have hurt other drugmakers because the complex biotechnology drug won’t face the same competition from inexpensive copycats as traditional small-molecule pills.

The drug’s marketing power also gives AbbVie time to develop a stronger group of experimental medicines, said Jami Rubin, an analyst with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “We see AbbVie as more of a biotech company with a majority of sales coming from biologics and a strong pipeline of assets to sustain growth,” Rubin said in a note to clients this month.

AbbVie rose 2.9 percent to $49.30 at 4 p.m. New York time. The shares have gained 44 percent this year.

The drugmaker has focused on licensing early stage drugs that could pay off later this decade, when competition to Humira may increase, Rubin said. AbbVie has yet to hire a new head of research and development, after head of R&D John Leonard announced his retirement in May.

Net income fell to $964 million, or 60 cents a share, from $1.59 billion, or $1.01, a year earlier, AbbVie said. Revenue rose to $4.66 billion from $4.51 billion a year earlier, more than the $4.52 billion average of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales of Humira increased 19 percent to $2.77 billion from a year earlier.

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