October 27, 2017 / 11:41 AM / a year ago

AbbVie says Humira sales will balloon to $21 bln in 2020

Oct 27 (Reuters) - AbbVie Inc on Friday forecast its flagship drug Humira to bring $21 billion in sales by 2020, about $3 billion higher than its expectation two years ago.

The U.S. drugmaker also reported third-quarter earnings above Wall Street estimates, as it sold more of Humira - the world’s best selling prescription medicine - and Imbruvica, its other main drug.

Humira, which is approved to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, raked in $16.08 billion in sales last year, making up more than 60 percent of AbbVie’s 2016 revenue.

Last month, AbbVie reassured investors that Humira would be safe from competition for at least a few more years, granting rival Amgen Inc a non-exclusive license to sell a copycat version in the United States, but not before 2023.

Humira generated sales of $4.70 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, ahead of analysts’ average estimate of $4.66 billion, according to Jeffrey Holford, an analyst at Jefferies.

Chicago-based AbbVie also raised its 2017 forecast for adjusted earnings to $5.53 to $5.55 per share from $5.44 to $5.54 per share.

The drugmaker’s net earnings rose to $1.63 billion or $1.01 per share in the third quarter, from $1.60 billion or 97 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, AbbVie earned $1.41 per share, topping analysts’ expectations of $1.38, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net revenue rose 8.8 percent to $7 billion, matching analysts’ estimates.

AbbVie also boosted its quarterly dividend payout 11 percent to 71 cents per share. (Reporting by Tamara Mathias and Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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