November 2, 2018 / 11:50 AM / a year ago

AbbVie lifts profit target after cancer drug powers third-quarter beat

Nov 2 (Reuters) - AbbVie Inc beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter profit and raised its earnings forecast for the year on Friday, driven by strong sales of blockbuster cancer medicine Imbruvica.

Imbruvica, which the company markets with partner Johnson & Johnson, brought in $972 million in the third quarter, up 41 percent from a year earlier and above the average Wall Street estimate of $885.6 million.

The drug has won nine FDA approvals to treat six diseases, most recently receiving the green light to treat a rare form of blood cancer in combination with Roche Holding AG’s cancer drug Rituxan.

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, AbbVie’s top-selling drug Humira generated revenue of $5.12 billion, ahead of the $5.10 billion forecast by nine analysts polled by IBES Refinitiv.

However, revenue from Hepatitis C medicine Mavyret disappointed, with the drug bringing in sales of $839 million, compared with the consensus estimate of $887 million. The U.S. market for Hepatitis C has been steadily shrinking as the impact of the disease lessens.

The Chicago-based drugmaker raised its 2018 adjusted earnings per share forecast to between $7.90 and $7.92 from a prior range of $7.76 to $7.86. Analysts had forecast $7.88 per share.

Net earnings jumped 68.4 percent to $2.75 billion, or $1.81 per share.

Excluding items, AbbVie earned $2.14 per share, ahead of analysts’ estimates of $2.02 per share.

Net revenue rose nearly 18 percent to $8.24 billion in the quarter, beating the average estimate of $8.23 billion helped by sales of its blood cancer treatments. (Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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