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Markets News

AbbVie raises 2020 profit forecast as COVID-19 hit eases

Oct 30 (Reuters) - Drugmaker AbbVie Inc posted better-than-expected quarterly sales and raised its full-year adjusted profit forecast on Friday, as demand for its Botox and other treatments showed signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Lockdowns and pandemic fears had forced people to delay non-essential surgeries earlier this year, but with restrictions easing, demand for treatments and procedures have picked up.

Botox, which AbbVie gained through its $64 billion acquisition of Allergan in May, suffered an initial hit during the peak of the health crisis, but demand has since improved.

Third-quarter sales for its cosmetic use only fell 2.2% year-on-year to $393 million, recovering from a 43.1% plunge in the second quarter, and beat analysts’ estimate of $364.4 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

AbbVie’s portfolio of aesthetic medicines such as Botox was showing a “V-shaped recovery,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Gonzalez said in a statement.

The company’s other treatments, including rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, the world’s best-selling drug, and new psoriasis therapy, Skyrizi, also outperformed Wall Street estimates in the third quarter.

This comes even as Humira has come under pressure from cheaper rivals in Europe and faces patent expiration in the United States, its biggest market, in 2023.

Humira brought in sales of $5.14 billion and AbbVie’s newer psoriasis medicine Skyrizi generated $435 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

In September, Oxford University said it would study whether Humira was an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients.

AbbVie forecast a combined company 2020 adjusted earnings of $10.47 to $10.49 per share, compared with $10.35 to $10.45 per share forecast earlier.

Net earnings jumped 22.5% to $2.31 billion in the reported quarter, due to the addition of Allergan’s business.

Total sales rose 52.2% to $12.90 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $12.72 billion.

Reporting by Manas Mishra and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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