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NEWS

AbbVie raises 2027 sales forecast for new immunology drugs to $27 billion

By Leroy Leo and Patrick Wingrove

(Reuters) -AbbVie on Friday raised its 2027 forecast for sales of its immunology drugs Skyrizi and Rinvoq to $27 billion, up $6 billion from its previous prediction.

The Chicago-based drugmaker has been counting on revenues from its newer immunology medicines to help make up for declining sales of blockbuster arthritis drug Humira.

AbbVie said during an investor call its new prediction was based on growth seen for Skyrizi and Rinvoq, and that it expected the drugs to bring in $16 billion in sales this year.

The drugmaker predicted 2024 Skyrizi revenue of $10.5 billion and Rinvoq sales of $5.5 billion.

Shares of AbbVie rose 1.6% in early trading.

The new Skyrizi and Rinvoq forecast “will likely remove pricing concerns and help people model high-single-digit growth till end of the decade,” Wells Fargo analyst Mohit Bansal said.

Rinvoq sales of $1.26 billion beat expectations of $1.17 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023, while Skyrizi sales of $2.39 billion were in line with estimates.

Humira, once the world’s top-selling medicine, faced U.S. competition for the first time last year after nine close-copies of the drug, called biosimilars, entered the market.

The loss of exclusivity forced AbbVie to concede on net price to maintain market share. Humira U.S. sales last year plunged by 35% to $12.16 billion, the company said on Friday.

AbbVie said during its investor call that it expected Humira to make $9.6 billion in 2024, taking into account U.S. erosion of roughly 36%.

Sales of the drug fell 41% to $3.30 billion in the fourth quarter, but beat estimates of $3.28 billion. Humira sales also fell less than expected in the third quarter, buttressed by favorable positions on insurance drug coverage lists.

The company said during its investor call that Humira would lose some insurance coverage in the U.S. year over year, but would maintain broad coverage on pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) formularies in 2024.

PBMs act as middlemen for employers and health plans. They negotiate rebates and fees with drug manufacturers, and create lists, or formularies, of medications that are covered by insurance, and reimburse pharmacies for patients’ prescriptions.

For 2024, AbbVie forecast an adjusted profit in the range of $11.05 to $11.25 per share.

The average expectation for annual profit was $11.24, according to LSEG data, but some analysts said the consensus only partially accounted for the 32-cent hit from its acquisitions of drug developers ImmunoGen and Cerevel Therapeutics last year.

Botox brought in sales of $1.49 billion, ahead of combined estimates of $1.43 billion.

Botox has been facing increased competition from newer anti-wrinkle injections from Revance Therapeutics, Evolus and others.

AbbVie reported a quarterly adjusted profit of $2.79 per share, beating estimates by 2 cents.

(Reporting by Leroy Leo in Bengaluru and Patrick Wingrove in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel, Mark Potter, Nick Zieminski and David Ljunggren)

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