Updated from 8:15 a.m. ESTAbbott Laboratories ( ABT - Get Report) posted a double-digit increase in first-quarter revenue on broad-based product growth and offered in-line future guidance. The Illinois-based health care company Tuesday said it earned $837.9 million, or 53 cents a share, based on continuing operations, vs. $822.9 million, or 52 cents a share, a year ago. The year-ago quarter included 4 cents a share from the company's Hospira ( HSP) unit, which was spun off in April 2004. Excluding items, the company earned 58 cents, compared with 53 cents a year ago. Analysts were expecting 58 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call. Revenue rose 16% to $5.38 billion, thanks partly to the weak dollar. Looking ahead, Abbott reaffirmed its 2005 EPS forecast of $2.47 to $2.53. The company also forecast second-quarter EPS of 56 cents to 58 cents. Both forecasts exclude items. On a GAAP basis, the forecasts are $2.41 to $2.47 for the full year and 55 cents to 57 cents for the quarter. The consensus estimates are $2.49 and 58 cents, respectively. Abbott expects one-time charges of about 6 cents a share in 2005 related to tax expenses associated with the company's decision in the first quarter to repatriate foreign earnings in connection with the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, as well as residual impacts of 2004 acquisitions and minor restructurings. Five cents of that will be accounted for in the first quarter with the remainder in the second quarter. Sales at Abbott's pharmaceutical products unit increased 20.1% to $1.87 billion, with strong sales of Humira, Kaletra, Biaxin, Depakote and Mobic. Abbott said it is seeking approval for Humira, its rheumatoid arthritis drug, to be combined with methotrexate as a treatment for early rheumatoid arthritis. This combination is more effective than using either drug alone. Abbott is also seeking approval for Humira as a treatment for psoriatic arthritis, which moves the drug into the dermatology market. These new indications are expected to be approved by the FDA in the fourth quarter. Humira sales for the first quarter were up 61%.
Abbott expects Kaletra, its HIV drug, to be approved for a once-daily dosage basis in the summer. The company is also filing a supplemental new drug application this summer for a version of the drug that will eliminate the need for refrigeration. Kaletra is the No. 1 prescribed protease inhibitor, a class of drugs that stop the HIV virus from replicating. The antibiotic drug Biaxin is expected to bring in $1 billion in worldwide sales in 2005. Biaxin XL, the extended release form of its clarithromycin antibiotic drug, now makes up 70% of Biaxin sales. The remainder comes from its immediate release form, which goes off patent in May. Generic-drug makers Andrx and Ranbaxy Labs plan to sell generic forms of Biaxin XL, which Abbott's patent covers until 2017. Several other companies are expected to release generic forms of the immediate-release Biaxin. Sales of Abbott's neurological drug Depakote were up in the double-digit range, and the company expects the drug to be approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder in the second half of the year. Abbott's reign as exclusive distributor of Boehringer Ingelheim's antibiotic Mobic expires at the end of this month. Though Abbott says it won't talk about market exclusivity, the companies agree that they are "very confident that there will not be a generic Mobic product on the market this year." Abbott shares fell 42 cents, or 0.9%, to $47.33.