5. AbbVie

abbvie
With the acquisition of Allergan, which was finalized in early May, AbbVie's revenue increased by $12.5 million. That figure should swell in 2021 with a full-year boost from Allergan products.

AbbVie
2020 revenue:
$45.80 billion
2019 revenue: $33.27 billion
Headquarters: North Chicago, Illinois

At first-blush, AbbVie’s revenue increase is jarring; not many pharma giants can pull off 38% growth in one year.

But there’s an easy explanation for its robust 2020 figure. Chalk it up to a buyout of Allergan, which catapulted AbbVie from a top 10 pharma to a top 5.  

The deal, for which AbbVie paid $63 billion, was completed in early May and sales of the formidable suite of products inherited from the Irish drugmaker accounted for a significant chunk of the company’s $12.53 billion revenue increase.

The pandemic threatened to make it a difficult year for the cosmetic treatments Allergan was known for. Botox, for example, saw a 43% dip from the second quarter of 2019 to the same quarter of last year. But the wrinkle-erasing formula rebounded to generate $2.5 billion in less than eight months under AbbVie. Annualizing that figure over 12 months would make the performance roughly equal to the $3.8 billion Botox made for Allergan in 2019.

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Lots of other former Allergan products excelled, led by Vraylar. The depression drug generated more for AbbVie in less than eight months ($951 million) than it did in all of 2019 ($858 million). When extrapolated over an entire year, the figures for Restasis ($787 million) and Linzess ($667 million) exceeded their 2019 performances under Allergan.   

Immunology remains AbbVie’s bread and butter. Versatile mega-blockbuster Humira ($19.8 billion) may be on the downside of a brilliant run. But it still rebounded from 2019, when sales dropped by 4%, to post an increase of 3.5%. Meanwhile, its young protégés, Skyrizi ($1.6 billion), for plaque psoriasis, and Rinvoq ($730 million), for rheumatoid arthritis, showed potential as eventual replacements. 

Sales of blood cancer drugs Imbruvica ($5.3 billion) and Venclexta ($1.3 billion) were robust, with the latter’s figure up 69% from 2019.

Also topping the $1 billion mark were Mavyret ($1.8 billion), once a budding superstar but now in rapid decline like most other hepatitis C treatments, and EPI remedy Creon ($1.1 billion).

The future for AbbVie couldn’t be much brighter, at least according to Wall Street. Among the top 10 companies by market capitalization at the end of 2020, AbbVie had the largest one-year growth, 44% to $189 billion.

How is that possible with AbbVie’s premier drug, Humira, facing competition in the United States from cheaper generics in early 2023?

RELATED: AbbVie's post-Humira life looks brighter with Skyrizi psoriatic arthritis win

AbbVie’s acquisition of Allergan certainly played a role in the valuation jump, but also at play is the enormous potential of immunology drugs Skyrizi and Rinvoq. AbbVie estimates that by 2025, the duo could rake in a combined $15 billion annually. 

There also are promising drugs in the pipeline including ABBV-951 for Parkinson's disease, elezanumab for spinal cord injuries and several oncology candidates.

5. AbbVie