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Abbott raises sales expectations for Humira

Published on 21/01/04 at 02:47pm

Abbott Laboratories has raised its sales forecast for Humira, its new rheumatoid arthritis treatment, to $700 million in 2004 after a successful launch last year.

Humira was launched in the US at the beginning of last year, making sales of $246 million, based on which Abbott raised its 2004 sales forecast from $500 to more than $700 million. Analysts have predicted that the product will reach peak-year sales of $1 billion.

The announcement comes after a steady performance in 2003 from the company in which total sales rose by 11% to $19.7 billion, led by a strong showing in the US market and double-digit growth from a number of its top products.

Abbott's US pharmaceutical sales rose by 22% to $5.2 billion, led by Depakote with sales of $886 million, Flomax ($689 million), TriCor ($566 million) and Mobic ($320 million), all posting strong sales figures.

But, despite edging into worldwide double-digit sales growth, the company net income suffered from a one-off charge of $726 million last year and dipped by 1.4% to $2.75 billion.

Humira was discovered as part of a collaboration between Abbott and UK biotech company Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT), and is the first-ever human monoclonal antibody treatment approved for rheumatoid arthritis.

But the companies are currently in dispute over the amount of royalties based on product sales that should be paid to CAT.

Meanwhile, TAP Phamaceuticals, Abbott's joint US venture with Japanese pharma company Takeda saw revenue fall 8% to $1 billion due to declining sales for its proton pump inhibitor Prevacid and urology treatment Lupron, which was put under pressure by a lower-priced rival entering the market.

"Moving into 2004, our top priorities will be the continued worldwide launch of Humira, the launch of several new products in our U.S. immunoassay business and the successful spin-off of Hospira, which will be one of the largest manufacturers of hospital products in the United States," said Abbott chairman and chief executive officer Miles D. White.

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