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AbbVie raises annual profit forecast as Botox demand rebounds

Reuters logo Reuters 7/30/2021
graphical user interface: FILE PHOTO: A sign stands outside a Abbvie facility in Cambridge © Reuters/BRIAN SNYDER FILE PHOTO: A sign stands outside a Abbvie facility in Cambridge

(Reuters) -Drugmaker AbbVie Inc raised its 2021 adjusted profit forecast on Friday, betting that a demand uptick for its Botox anti-wrinkle injection due to easing lockdowns will help overcome weak international sales for blockbuster drug Humira.

Sales of Botox for cosmetic use rose two-fold to $584 million in the second quarter to trounce estimates of $483 million, as vaccinations encouraged people to step out more and resume non-essential procedures after being holed up at home for months.

The company grabbed Botox last year as part of its $63 billion purchase of Allergan, a move aimed at cushioning the hit from the looming loss of U.S. patents for the world's best-selling drug Humira, expected in 2023.

Sales of Humira, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and which is already facing rivals in Europe, rose 4.8% to $5.07 billion, roughly in line with a Refinitiv IBES estimate of $5.08 billion.

But sales of the drug fell 6% on a reported basis in international markets while rising 7.1% in the United States.

The strong quarter was mainly driven by multiple Allergan products, while sales of core AbbVie assets came in fairly close to expectations, Mizuho analyst Vamil Divan said.

AbbVie said it expects full-year adjusted earnings between $12.52 and $12.62 per share, compared with $12.37 to $12.57 per share previously. Analysts expected 2021 earnings per share of $12.61.

The company's quarterly results were also underpinned by two-fold jumps in sales of psoriasis drug Skryizi and rheumatoid arthritis treatment Rinvoq. AbbVie has focused on expanding the use of the drugs to soften the expected blow to Humira sales.

The company swung to a profit of $766 million from a loss of $738 million a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned $3.11 per share.

A Refinitiv tally showed AbbVie earned $3.09 per share, meeting estimates.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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