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AbbVie Posts First-Quarter Earnings Beat on Strong Humira Sales

AbbVie posts stronger-than-expected earnings and forecasts solid 2020 profit as sales of its popular rheumatoid arthritis treatment and cancer-drugs bolster earnings.

AbbVie  (ABBV) - Get AbbVie, Inc. Report posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings and forecast solid profits for 2020 as rising sales from its popular Humira rheumatoid arthritis treatment as well as strong cancer-drug sales helped bolster earnings.

AbbVie said adjusted earnings for the three months ended in March were $3.01 billion, or $2.42 a share, vs. $2.46 billion, or $1.65 a share, in the comparable year-earlier quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of $2.25 a share.

Global sales totaled $8.62 billion vs. $7.63 billion a year ago, also ahead of analysts' forecasts of sales of $8.31 billion.

"Our business continues to perform well and remains strong, which speaks volumes as to the robustness of our portfolio and the commitment from our many dedicated employees across the organization," CEO Richard Gonzalez said in a statement.

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Global sales of its blockbuster arthritis treatment Humira came in at $4.7 billion, an increase of 5.8%, as domestic sales offset a drop in international revenue. Net revenue from its hematologic oncology portfolio was $1.55 billion, an increase of more than 32%, thanks to strong global sales of its Imbruvica and Venclexta cancer-fighting treatments.

The company left its full-year 2020 guidance intact, affirming that it still sees adjusted earnings in the region of $9.61 to $9.71 a share.

Meantime, the company continues to work on a treatment for Covid-19, focusing on HIV treatment drugs Kaletra and Aluvia, known respectively as lopinavir and ritonavir, as possible antiretroviral therapies. Specifically, the company said it has started a phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate the potential of Imbruvica (ibrutinib) to treat patients with moderate to severe Covid-19.

Shares of AbbVie were up 1.33% at $83.29 in trading on Friday. 

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