July 27, 2018 / 11:41 AM / a year ago

AbbVie tops second-quarter estimates, sets higher earnings target

July 27 (Reuters) - AbbVie Inc on Friday topped Wall Street estimates for second-quarter profit and raised its yearly earnings forecast, led by stronger demand for top-selling drugs Humira and Imbruvica.

The drugmaker said sales of rheumatoid arthritis medicine Humira, which accounts for some two-thirds of AbbVie’s overall revenue, rose to $5.19 billion in the three months ended June 30. Six analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had on average expected $5.18 billion.

Humira is the world’s best-selling prescription medicine, and AbbVie has aggressively tried to fend off any competition from rival drugmakers looking to make cheaper copies of the drug. The North Chicago, Illinois-based company has signed agreements with drug companies including Mylan to keep them from launching any Humira copies until 2023.

AbbVie’s Imbruvica cancer drug raked in second-quarter sales of $850 million, exceeding analysts’ estimates of $827.2 million.

AbbVie now expects 2018 adjusted earnings of between $7.76 and $7.86 per share, compared with an earlier expectation of between $7.66 and $7.76.

Excluding one-time items, AbbVie earned $2 per share, edging past analysts’ expectations of $1.97. Net earnings rose 3.6 percent to $1.98 billion or $1.26 per share.

Revenue rose about 19 percent to $8.28 billion. Analysts had expected $8.21 billion. (Reporting by Tamara Mathias and Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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