As Humira competition nears, AbbVie's Imbruvica and Mavyret pick up steam

AbbVie upped its 2018 EPS guidance again on Friday, with the new midpoint implying 39.5% growth. (AbbVie)

Even as AbbVie's megablockbuster immunology med Humira inches toward its first biosim competition, the drug is still churning out record sales. Well aware of the impending competition, AbbVie has worked to diversify its offerings. Now, some other meds at the drugmaker are making a growing mark on sales charts.

Humira continued its astronomical run in the second quarter, growing sales 10% to $5.19 billion during the period. Elsewhere in the company's portfolio, sales for Imbruvica grew 36% to $850, while revenues from AbbVie's hepatitis C products jumped more than 100% to $973 million. For the period, AbbVie's overall sales grew 17% to $8.3 billion.

Importantly, volume gains drove 16% of the overall growth, executives said on a conference call Friday. Pricing gains chipped in about 1%.  

With the results, AbbVie raised its 2018 guidance for the third time this year, CEO Richard Gonzalez said on the call. The company now expects earnings per share of $7.76 to $7.86, up from a previous range of $7.66 to $7.76. At the midpoint, AbbVie projects 39% EPS growth for the year.

RELATED: AbbVie's Humira gets biosim reprieve—and Amgen wins copycat advantage—in patent deal with Samsung Bioepis 

Even with the strong performance, AbbVie execs are well aware of the approaching biosim competition for Humira. Thanks to patent settlements, Biogen and Amgen can launch their biosims most European countries in October. The drug still has years of exclusivity in the U.S., however; AbbVie has inked deals to delay biosim competition in the key market until 2023. Humira generated about two-thirds of its global sales last year in the U.S.

But by the time Humira biosims reach the U.S. market, AbbVie plans to launch 20 new products or new "major indications" for existing meds, Gonzalez said on Friday, "diversifying our sources of revenue and offsetting the impact of biosimilar competition." 

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Among the company's new products is Orilissa, approved this week to treat pain associated with endometriosis. It's the first new drug for the condition in more than a decade, and Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin wrote that she expects it to generate more than $1 billion in sales by 2020. Gonzalez, for his part, said the drug carries a multibillion-dollar sales potential at peak. 

Also in the company's pipeline are late-stage prospects risankizumab for psoriasis and Crohn's disease, and upadacitinib in indications including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. 

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