AbbVie Plans to Focus on Specialty Drugs

Published: Jan 04, 2013

AbbVie Inc. (ABBV), the drug unit that split from parent Abbott Laboratories (ABT) on Jan. 1, will seek treatments for unmet medical needs in a push to grow sales in 2015, the company’s new chief financial officer said. The competition is less keen to find drugs for conditions with few current therapies than for primary care, CFO William Chase said today in an interview in New York. AbbVie will focus on these illnesses, such as Parkinson’s and endometriosis, a disease of the uterus, where the North Chicago, Illinois-based company already has treatments under development, he said. Abbott split off AbbVie as a way to let investors choose between a medical products company that makes devices, diagnostics and nutrition products, and AbbVie, a drugmaker based largely around Humira, a best-selling rheumatoid arthritis injection that generated $7.93 billion in 2011. “We’re not going to be a primary care company going forward,” Chase said. “What we’re really looking for is specialty segments.” The goal is for those products to come on line in 2015, Chase said. “In 2015, the pipeline will kick in and at which point we’re confident AbbVie will return to growth, Chase said. Until then, sales likely will be little changed. The company over the next two years will lose about $2.5 billion of what it projects will be $18 billion in 2013 revenue as patents expire, Chase said. The sales loss will be offset by more revenue from Humira and Androgel, a testosterone product. AbbVie, which began trading yesterday, declined less than 1 percent to $34.83 at the close in New York.

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