As AbbVie slogs through sharp revenue declines for Humira, the company is looking to the immunology light at the end of the tunnel.
During the final quarter of 2023, sales of Humira—which once sat pretty as the world’s best-selling drug—plunged nearly 41% to $3.3 billion globally. The rate of erosion seems to have gathered steam in the fourth quarter and outpaced the med's full-year sales decline of around 32%.
Still, AbbVie and investors knew this blow was coming. The plan—following the entry of Humira biosimilars early last year—is to weather the brunt of the attack in 2024 before charting a return to growth in 2025 and beyond, Robert Michael, AbbVie’s chief operating officer, said on a call with investors Friday.
Specifically, AbbVie will rely on its roster of growth products, including Humira’s immunology heirs Rinvoq and Skyrizi, to help “absorb the largest loss of exclusivity event to date across our industry,” AbbVie’s CEO, Richard Gonzalez, added on the call.
This year, AbbVie expects Rinvoq and Skyrizi, plus the migraine meds Ubrelvy and Qulipta, to each contribute sales growth of double-digit percentages, Michael explained. Thanks to the “impressive growth of both therapies,” Rinvoq and Skyrizi specifically are expected to reap a combined $16 billion in 2024, the COO said.
More importantly, however, is AbbVie’s long-term outlook for its meds.
By 2027, the company now anticipates that Rinvoq and Skyrizi will collectively exceed more than $27 billion in sales and chart “robust growth into the next decade,” Michael said.
That updated forecast represents an increase of more than $6 billion over AbbVie’s prior forecast for Humira’s immunology successors.
Taking a closer look, Skyrizi is expected to reach more than $17 billion by 2027, reflecting continued share capture in psoriasis and uptake in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Rinvoq, for its part, has been pegged to hit more than $10 billion in sales in 2027 across its rheumatology, IBD and atopic dermatitis indications.
“This forecast comprehends modest contributions from several new disease areas for Rinvoq, which we anticipate will be launching in the second half of the decade,” Michael added. “These new indications have a collective peak sales potential of several billion dollars.”
When it comes to Rinvoq and Skyrizi’s current indications, there’s still “significant headroom” for more patients to adopt AbbVie’s immunology meds, the company’s chief commercial officer, Jeffrey Stewart, added on the call.
“We have a very good competitive position, very high capture rates, and we’re really in the sort of low end of the range in terms of total prescription share,” Stewart added.
AbbVie also raised its long-term outlook for migraine offerings Ubrelvy and Qulipta. Together, the company expects the drugs to reach combined peak revenues of $3 billion, up from a previous estimate of more than $1 billion for each drug.
Meanwhile, with AbbVie now largely looking at the Humira cliff in the rear-view mirror, analysts were curious about the possibility of Gonzalez’ CEO succession. Still, the CEO was largely tight-lipped.
“When we believe that we’re comfortable, we’ve navigated the LOE and the rest of the business is performing at a higher level—that’s the point where we want to make the transition,” Gonzalez said on the call.