USA — AbbVie maintains that it is well-prepared to weather the loss of exclusivity (LOE) of its blockbuster drug, Humira, as its first biosimilar is set to launch later this month with many more to follow throughout the year.

The drugmaker has been in contract negotiations with insurers and pharmacy benefit managers for Humira for this year and said in October that pricing of its rivals would determine the drug’s sales this year.

Humira, an injection used to treat a variety of autoimmune disorders, has become the best-selling drug in pharmaceutical history, with sales reaching US$20.7 billion last year.

However, Amgen is set to begin selling a lower-cost copycat competitor to Humira on January 31, with a wave of more than a half-dozen other biosimilar rivals following in July.

Nonetheless, several differentiated assets across AbbVie’s core areas will drive the company’s long-term growth following Humira’s loss of exclusivity.

Meanwhile, AbbVie has raised its 2025 sales forecast of its newer immunology drugs Skyrizi and Rinvoq to more than US$17.5 billion as it hopes to replace the loss of revenue from its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira.

The company’s previous sales outlook for Skyrizi and Rinvoq in 2025 was more than US$15 billion.

Skyrizi is approved in the United States to treat arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease, while Rinvoq treats arthritis, eczema, and ulcerative colitis.

AbbVie also expects peak sales of the drugs to exceed US$21 billion in 2027. The two drugs are part of the company’s long-term growth strategy to offset Humira’s loss of exclusivity.

Meeting those lofty projections will necessitate significant sales growth. Skyrizi sales totaled around US$2 billion in the first nine months of 2022. Rinvoq earned US$1.1 billion during the same time period.

Meeting the new Skyrizi and Rinvoq sales targets will necessitate AbbVie following in the footsteps of Humira and expanding the drugs’ usage to include a broader range of inflammatory diseases.

Robust pharma pipeline cushions AbbVie

AbbVie will continue to have the highest revenue growth in the industry even after the Humira LOE event in the U.S.

In the cancer space, Imbruvica (ibrutinib) will continue to generate significant cash flow for AbbVie through the end of this decade. Market challenges and competitive entrance have lowered outlook for the drug.

Venclexta’s (venetoclax tablets) strong growth is expected to partially offset the drop in Imbruvica sales. Still, AbbVie projects its global oncology revenue to drop to around $5.7 billion this year.

Oncology business is expected to return to sales growth by 2026, driven mainly by promising late-stage assets, including epcoritamab, a potential best-in-class CD3-CD20 bispecific for B-cell malignancies and Navitoclax, being trialed in myelofibrosis.

AbbVie’s neuroscience business also continues its strong performance. The company’s acute migraine treatment, Ubrelvy (ubrogepant), and migraine prevention therapeutic Qulipta (atogepant) are each expected to reach peak sales of at least US$1 billion.

Vraylar (cariprazine), recently approved as an adjunct for major depressive disorder, is looking at peak revenue of almost US$5 billion.

The company is also continuing to develop its pipeline for neurodegenerative disease, including ABBV-951 for Parkinson’s disease and ABBV-916 for Alzheimer’s disease.

In light of its promising pipeline, a strong portfolio of approved assets, and robust long-term growth outlook, “AbbVie clearly represents a unique investment opportunity, well-positioned for attractive shareholder returns,” Abbvie CEO Richard Gonzalez said.

Meanwhile, the company’s LOE exposure for the remainder of the decade will be among the lowest.

Quarterly dividend has grown by 270% since inception, and the company is committed to continuing this upward trend.

AbbVie has made substantial progress in its debt repayments and is set to achieve roughly US$34 billion in cumulative paydown this year.

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