AbbVie blows hepatitis C forecasts out of the water as Mavyret snaps up share

AbbVie delivered top- and bottom-line beats for the first quarter. (AbbVie)

Remember the days when AbbVie’s hepatitis C revenues consistently fell short? Those are long gone.

On Thursday, the company unveiled a monster hepatitis C haul of $919 million that grew by 249% over last year’s first-quarter total and blew $572 million consensus estimates out of the water.

The drug behind the big showing? Mavyret, AbbVie’s pan-genotypic contender that won FDA approval last August. Since then, market penetration has exceeded AbbVie’s expectations, CFO Bill Chase told investors on the earnings conference call, with the med making “more rapid share gains” than the company originally anticipated.

Much of that share “presumably” came from Merck, Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan, M.D., wrote in a note to clients. The New Jersey drugmaker has largely backed off in hepatitis C and left the market to AbbVie and archrival Gilead.

RELATED: Dogged by AbbVie's new share-stealing Mavyret, Gilead's hep C forecast comes in far short

AbbVie doesn’t expect revenues to slow down anytime soon, either. “This is a market that is going to be around for a long, long time,” CEO Richard Gonzalez said, adding that in countries where AbbVie doesn’t already have the market lead, “we’re awfully close” to Gilead and “continuing to move in that direction.”

The big hepatitis C beat also propelled the Illinois pharma to sales and earnings beats. AbbVie recorded $7.93 billion in sales for the quarter, zipping past $7.6 billion predictions, and $1.87 in earnings per share that topped $1.79-per-share forecasts.

There were other contributors too, of course. Lead drug Humira passed expectations by $49 million with the $4.71 billion it kicked in, and cancer-fighter Imbruvica over-delivered by $6 million, raking in $762 million.

RELATED: AbbVie ditches plans for accelerated Rova-T review after weak phase 2 data

The first quarter wasn’t perfect for AbbVie, though. It saw the company pull back on plans for an accelerated review of pipeline cancer med Rova-T in light of weak phase 2 data, and that move spooked investors big-time.

Still, the company is confident its other pipeline prospects can more than make up for the ding. The company is gearing up for approvals for endometriosis candidate elagolix and anti-inflammatory meds upadacitinib and risankizumab, all of which have the potential to win additional indications down the line. And the company is moving toward line extensions for oncology product Venclexta, too.

“At the end of the day, I don’t see the same ghosts as they see,” Gonzalez said of investors. “Over time markets tend to figure things out, and I think in our case that will be the case as well. We certainly feel good about what our prospects look like going forward.”