Headquarters: North Chicago, Illinois
2016 revenues: $25.56 billion
2015 revenues: $22.82 billion
Boasting the world’s top-selling drug, AbbVie turned in a respectable 12% growth to $25.56 billion in global sales for 2016, enough to rank it among the top echelon of drugmakers.
AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis med Humira can take much of the credit. The brand grew 14% to $16 billion in sales, again demonstrating its importance for the North Chicago drugmaker as biosimilar competition lurks. Humira’s haul made up more than 60% of AbbVie’s total sales.
That’s not to count out Imbruvica, which pitched in meaningful sales of $1.8 billion for the year as it continued its sales ascent. The cancer drug, picked up in AbbVie’s $21 billion Pharmacyclics buy, fell short of analyst expectations in the fourth quarter but “continues to track where we had hoped or slightly ahead,” according to CEO Richard Gonzalez.
Gonzalez told investors and analysts on AbbVie’s fourth-quarter conference call that his company delivered “industry leading performance on both the top and bottom lines” last year.
But outside of big-sellers Humira and Imbruvica, plus some other smaller meds, the drugmaker struggled to grow sales.
In hep C, Viekira fell 7% on the year to $1.5 billion. Due to increased competition, that’s been a tough space to eke out growth in recently as key player Gilead Sciences has repeatedly reported staggering sales declines, and Merck recently took a $2.9 billion write-down on one of its own candidates.
No other meds broke the $1 billion sales threshold for AbbVie. Prostate cancer and endometriosis treatment Lupron, plus respiratory syncytial virus med Synagis each posted minor sales losses to $821 million and $730 million, respectively.
Marking some smaller wins for the company, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency treatment Creon and Parkinson’s med Duodopa each grew 16% and 27%, respectively, to sales worth $730 million and $293 million.
All that considered, it’ll be critical for AbbVie to keep its Humira sales engine churning. Under threat from Amgen’s biosimilar Amjevita, which won FDA approval last year, AbbVie has committed to defend itself against the the challenger’s “blatant infringement.”
If Amgen were to take on an “at-risk” launch, it’d be on the hook for damages in the event AbbVie prevails in a patent dispute.
Novartis, plus Merck and Baxalta and their development partners, are also gunning for a piece of the world’s best-selling drug with biosimilar programs of their own.