AbbVie (ABBV) stock jumped Thursday after the company issued a “better-than-feared” earnings outlook for 2023, the company’s first year in which its blockbuster Humira drug faces challenges in the U.S.
For the year, the pharma giant predicted adjusted earnings of $10.70-$11.10 per share. That’s far below forecasts ranging from $11.10 to $11.73, according to various analysts’ reports. Still, the outlook is better than feared, Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Raymond said in a note to clients.
“It’s our sense that investor expectations were for the low end of the range to come in well below $11, closer to about $10.50 or lower,” he said. “Recall, management has indicated that the low end of fiscal year 2023 guidance will represent floor earnings.”
The guidance comes in the first year AbbVie’s Humira is facing biosimilar knockoffs in the U.S. Amgen (AMGN) has already launched its version, Amjevita, at a steep 5%-55% discount to branded Humira. Humira, a wildly successful immunology treatment, is AbbVie’s bread-and-butter drug.
In morning trading on the stock market today, AbbVie stock rose 3.8% near 150.
AbbVie Stock: Sales Miss Forecasts
During the fourth quarter, overall sales inched almost 2% ahead to $15.12 billion, but lagged expectations for $15.33 billion. Adjusted earnings popped roughly 17% to $3.60 per share and narrowly topped views by three pennies, according to FactSet.
Humira sales climbed almost 5% on a strict, as-reported basis to $5.58 billion. That was driven by growth in the U.S. as international sales tumbled on continued biosimilar erosion.
The company didn’t provide an outlook for full-year Humira sales in its news release. Last year, sales grew almost 3% to $21.24 billion.
In his prepared remarks, Chief Executive Richard Gonzalez says AbbVie has a strong foundation that will help it “absorb the U.S. Humira loss of exclusivity, return to strong top-line growth in 2023 and drive top-tier financial performance over the long term.”
Newer Drugs To Offset Humira Losses
Part of that foundation lies in newer immunology drugs Rinvoq and Skyrizi. Edward Jones analyst John Boylan expects the duo to more than make up for the loss of Humira exclusivity in the long run.
“However, we also acknowledge that Rinvoq and Skyrizi and some of AbbVie’s cancer drugs are in competitive markets, and we would like to get a better view on their longer-term growth trajectory before we revisit our outlook,” he said in his note to clients.
Skyrizi sales surged about 76% to $1.58 billion in the fourth quarter. That beat calls for $1.51 billion to $1.53 billion, Piper Sandler’s Raymond said. Rinvoq sales also soared 49% to $770 million, but came in below forecasts ranging from $814 million to $853 million.
Cancer drugs Imbruvica and Venclexta also missed, while medical aesthetics were mixed. Botox, a shot that smoothes out wrinkles, brought in $642 million, topping forecasts. But sales of facial filler Juvederm lagged expectations at $323 million.
Sales of Botox as a therapeutic treatment for migraine, excessive sweating and other conditions climbed 8.5% to $728 million and beat AbbVie stock analysts’ calls.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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