|AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez|
On his company's Q3 conference call back in October, AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez told investors the pharma was in an even stronger position today than before it announced its failed $55 billion merger with Ireland's Shire ($SHPG). But with low-cost competitors ready to sink their teeth into the drugmaker's top products, 2015 adjusted earnings may miss analysts' forecasts.
Earnings for the year will reach $4.25 to $4.45 a share, AbbVie ($ABBV) said Thursday. According to Bloomberg, that will hit the low end of analyst estimates that averaged $4.42.
While AbbVie has a lot going for it--including the world's best-selling drug in $11 billion blockbuster Humira--it'll also be facing generic competition for a couple of its key moneymakers. The 1% concentration version of Low T med Androgel will see copycats spring up early this year, and Humira--patent-protected in the U.S. until 2016--already has a biosimilar challenger in India from local drugmaker Zydus Cadila.
The whopper buyout AbbVie and Shire agreed to last summer would have lessened the Abbott ($ABT) spinoff's reliance on its big guns, beefing up its product lineup considerably. But after the U.S. Treasury introduced new, stricter rules on tax inversions, the Illinois pharma called off the deal.
|Viekira--Courtesy of AbbVie|
Of course, AbbVie could exceed its own projections if it's active on the M&A front--as Gonzalez has said it will be, assuming it can find targets that fit well strategically. And it's expecting big things from its Viekira Pak, a brand new competitor to Gilead's ($GILD) next-gen hep C fighers Sovaldi and Harvoni. Strong commercial execution is a priority for AbbVie this year, Gonzalez said in a statement, and the company says it'll continue to tweak its 2015 guidance as Viekira's launch progresses.
- read the release
- see Bloomberg's take
Special Reports: The 10 best-selling drugs of 2013 - Humira | The top 10 patent losses of 2015 - Androgel | Top 15 highest-paid biopharma CEOs of 2013 - Richard Gonzalez, AbbVie