AbbVie leans on new treatments to forecast upbeat 2020 profit

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(Reuters) – AbbVie Inc (N:) on Friday forecast 2020 earnings above Wall Street estimates as the drugmaker expects growth to be powered by its new treatments for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis at a time when sales of its blockbuster drug Humira slow.

The drugmaker expects the two treatments, Skyrizi and Rinvoq, to bring in a combined revenue of about $1.70 billion in 2020.

The profit forecast excludes any impact from its $63 billion deal for Botox-maker Allergan Plc (N:), which it expects to close in the first quarter.

“The launches of Skyrizi and Rinvoq are going extremely well,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Gonzalez said in a statement.

In the fourth quarter, Skyrizi brought in sales of $216 million, topping estimates of $142 million, according to five analysts polled by Refinitiv. Rinvoq, which was approved in August, brought in sales of $33 million.

AbbVie is betting on new treatments and the addition of Botox to its portfolio as it braces for a revenue hit when it loses patent protection for Humira, the world’s best-selling medicine, in its biggest market, the United States, in 2023.

Humira has been boosting the company’s revenue ever since it was approved to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, the drug’s sales have suffered since new competition entered Europe.

Quarterly sales of the blockbuster drug were largely unchanged compared with a year earlier at $4.92 billion. But it beat expectations of $4.85 billion.

The company forecast 2020 adjusted earnings of between $9.61 and $9.71 per share, ahead of the average analysts’ estimate of $9.48.

AbbVie reported net profit of $2.80 billion, or $1.88 per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $1.83 billion, or $1.23 per share, a year earlier when it recorded $4.12 billion in impairment charges.

Excluding items, the drugmaker earned $2.21 per share in the fourth quarter and beat expectations of $2.19.

Net revenue rose 4.8% to $8.70 billion, marginally higher than average analysts’ estimate of $8.69 billion.

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