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AbbVie may count on Allergan’s Botox for post-merger growth. But what else?

November 6, 2019
Life sciences

With a $63 billion merger nearing approval, AbbVie is counting on Allergan and its cash-cow Botox to boost sales—and that superstar could be a long-term winner. But not every drug in Allergan’s stable is shining quite so brightly.

Cosmetic and therapeutic Botox combined for $927.8 million in global sales in the third quarter, a 5.8% increase over the previous year, Allergan said Tuesday. Cosmetic sales in the U.S. grew the most, delivering $237.6 million––a 10% increase from the previous year.

Botox’s success has been a point of pride for AbbVie as it seeks to close its merger with Allergan in early 2020 and add some fresh air to the new company’s offerings.

Last week, AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez targeted Botox––Allergan’s bestseller––as a predicted driver of the company’s growth after the merger. The blockbuster will join other fast growers from AbbVie, including RA med Rinvoq and blood cancer therapy Imbruvica, as the company positions itself to weather the decline for aging giant Humira.

While AbbVie’s hope has paid off so far with Botox growth, and new competitive threats don’t seem to worry analysts much, other Allergan drugs might give AbbVie room for pause.

Allergan’s dry-eye drug Restasis, for instance, posted a 5% drop on the quarter with $296 million in sales. Another underperformer, glaucoma med Lumigan, posted a 9% drop on the quarter with $157.2 million in sales.

Other drugs delivered growth, however, including the wrinkle-filler Juvéderm at $279.5 million in sales (5% growth) and bowel drug Linzess at $221.4 million (5% growth).

On the whole, Allergan’s portfolio booked $4.05 billion in revenue on the quarter, a modest 3.6% increase from the previous year.

A quarter of growth is likely a promising sign for AbbVie as the two companies await Federal Trade Commission clearance to execute a merger that shocked the industry at large and courted major pushback from consumer groups.

In September, the FTC ordered a “second request” for information from AbbVie and Allergan on their proposed merger, giving hope to a coalition of unions and consumer groups that had asked the commission to “carefully examine” the deal and block it outright if necessary.

Aiming to sail through the antitrust evaluation, Allergan volunteered to sell two drugs, brazikumab and Zenpep. Brazikumab belongs to the same IL-23 inhibitor class as AbbVie’s Skyrizi, and both are eyeing the inflammatory bowel disease market. Zenpep and AbbVie’s Creon are both pancreatic replacement enzymes.

By Kyle Blankenship

Source: Fierce Pharma

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