Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Report

said its first-quarter earnings were in line with consensus estimates, and the company simultaneously submitted a new arthritis treatment to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.

For the first quarter, the pharmaceutical company earned 54 cents a share, excluding charges, on worldwide sales of $4.189 billion, up from 47 cents on sales of $3.560 billion in the year-ago period. On average, Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting earnings of 54 cents a share on sales of $4.285 billion.

In a press release, Abbott cited growth in its worldwide pharmaceutical business and the successful launch of the drug Knoll for the quarter's growth. The company also said it has submitted regulatory applications for D2E7, its new rheumatoid arthritis treatment, to the FDA and the European regulatory agency.

For the second quarter, the company now expects pro forma earnings of 53 cents a share, below the consensus analyst estimate of 55 cents. For the year, the company reaffirmed its target of earnings per share in the range of $2.24 to $2.26. Analysts polled by First Call are expecting $2.25 for the year.

Shares of Abbott closed at $51.95 Monday before the earnings news.