[i] AbbVie announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to VENCLEXTA (venetoclax) in combination with azacitidine, or decitabine, or low-dose cytrabine (LDAC) for the treatment of newly-diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in adults who are age 75 years or older, or who have comorbidities that preclude use of intensive induction chemotherapy. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials, which are expected to be completed in 2019. The approval in AML is the third provided under priority review by the FDA for VENCLEXTA, which has been granted four Breakthrough Therapy Designations (BTDs) by the FDA. Venetoclax is being developed by AbbVie and Roche and is jointly commercialized by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the U.S. and by AbbVie outside of the U.S
[ii] AbbVie announced the European Commission (EC) has approved the type-II variation application for VENCLYXTO (venetoclax) in combination with rituximab for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory (R/R) chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who have received at least one prior therapy. This approval allows more patients to receive VENCLYXTO in combination with rituximab in the second-line setting. It also gives healthcare providers the ability to prescribe this medicine to a broader population of patients with R/R CLL than the previously approved indication for VENCLYXTO as monotherapy in the European Union. The approval is based on results from the Phase 3 MURANO trial, which demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in investigator-assessed progression-free survival (PFS) for patients who received VENCLYXTO plus rituximab compared with bendamustine plus rituximab.
[iii] At the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting & Exposition (ASH), AbbVie presented data from nearly 40 abstracts, including 13 oral presentations and more than 20 poster presentations. Multiple studies investigating VENCLEXTA and IMBRUVICA (ibrutinib) across a number of hematologic malignancies were presented, including updated results from the Phase 3 MURANO trial of venetoclax in combination with rituximab in patients with R/R CLL, which showed that treatment with VENCLEXTA and rituximab provided sustained benefits in PFS and minimal residual following an additional year of follow-up data.
[iv] AbbVie announced that it submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the FDA and a marketing authorization application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency for upadacitinib, an oral investigational JAK1-selective inhibitor, for the treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. The NDA and MAA are supported by data from the global upadacitinib SELECT Phase 3 rheumatoid arthritis program evaluating more than 4,900 patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis across five Phase 3 studies. In the SELECT program, results showed that upadacitinib improved signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, inhibited radiographic progression and improved physical function, both as a monotherapy and in combination with conventional synthetic DMARDs.
[v] At the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/Association for Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) Annual Meeting, AbbVie presented new data for upadacitinib and HUMIRA, with 35 abstracts presented across multiple rheumatic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and uveitis. Included in the presentations were data from three of the five pivotal studies from the SELECT Phase 3 program.
[vi] At the United European Gastroenterology Week (UEGW) conference, AbbVie showcased its gastroenterology portfolio with 11 presentations of HUMIRA and pipeline data, including the first presentation of data from a Phase 2b study (U-ACHIEVE) evaluating upadacitinib in adult patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis. Results from the U-ACHIEVE study demonstrated that after 8 weeks, upadacitinib (15/30/45 mg, once daily) met the primary endpoint of clinical remission (per adapted Mayo Score) and ranked secondary endpoints, including endoscopic improvement, clinical remission (per Full Mayo Score) and clinical response.
[vii] At the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecology, AbbVie, in cooperation with Neurocrine Biosciences, presented additional results from two replicate pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials ELARIS UF-1 and ELARIS UF-2 evaluating the efficacy and safety of elagolix in women with uterine fibroids. Results demonstrated that at the final month of the six-month treatment period, elagolix, in combination with low-dose hormone (add-back) therapy, reduced heavy menstrual bleeding associated with uterine fibroids compared to placebo. Data from the Phase 3 clinical trial program will support regulatory submission for elagolix in uterine fibroids, anticipated in mid-2019.
[viii] At the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), AbbVie presented new data for its pan-genotypic chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, MAVYRET (glecaprevir/pibrentasvir), in treatment-naïve patients with compensated cirrhosis.
[ix] Provides 2019 GAAP Diluted EPS Guidance Range of $7.39 to $7.49; Provides 2019 Adjusted Diluted EPS Guidance Range of $8.65 to $8.75, Representing Growth of 10.0 Percent at the Midpoint.
Full-Year 2019 Outlook
AbbVie is issuing GAAP diluted EPS guidance for the full-year 2019 of $7.39 to $7.49. The company's 2019 GAAP guidance does not reflect non-cash charges for contingent consideration adjustments related to the expected approval of risankizumab in the first half of the year. AbbVie expects to deliver adjusted diluted EPS for the full-year 2019 of $8.65 to $8.75, representing growth of 10.0 percent at the mid-point. The company's 2019 adjusted diluted EPS guidance excludes $1.26 per share of intangible asset amortization expense, non-cash charges for contingent consideration adjustments, and other specified items.
[x] "We delivered exceptional performance in 2018, including operational revenue growth of more than 15 percent and EPS growth above 40 percent," said Richard A. Gonzalez, chairman and chief executive officer, AbbVie. "We're entering an important new phase for AbbVie. The continued momentum of our business, combined with the launch and ramp of several new products, will allow us to drive strong earnings growth once again in 2019 and position us for growth over the longer term."