AbbVie‘s (ABBV) two-decade Humira monopoly came to an end Tuesday after Amgen (AMGN) launched its biosimilar knockoff at a 55% discount to the original. But AbbVie stock was mostly unmoved.
The biosimilar called Amjevita is the first to hit the U.S. market. But through deals with AbbVie, a handful of others will also launch this year.
Biosimilars are lower-cost versions of biologic drugs. The first Humira biosimilars launched in Europe in 2018 and AbbVie saw sales of its biggest moneymaker — a treatment for a host of inflammatory conditions — plummet.
“With our track record of developing and manufacturing biologics and decades of experience in inflammation, Amgen is uniquely equipped to supply this biosimilar medicine while reducing costs,” said Murdo Gordon, Amgen’s executive vice president of global commercial operations, in a written statement.
In morning trades on today’s stock market, AbbVie stock dipped a fraction near 145.50. Amgen stock fell 0.5% near 250.40.
AbbVie Stock: Humira Impact Will Be Near Term
AbbVie isn’t shying away from the looming Humira challenge. During the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference this month, Chief Executive Richard Gonzalez called the U.S. biosimilar launch “the event that we have all been long planning for here at AbbVie.”
He expects the launch of biosimilars from companies like Amgen, Organon (OGN), Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer (PFE) to impact AbbVie’s near-term performance. Amgen says it will offer Amjevita at two prices — 5% and 55% below the list price for Humira. The different prices give options to health plans and pharmacy benefit managers.
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Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat says the 5% discounted version will likely see better performance as “it offers more rebates to the middleman.”
Meanwhile, AbbVie stock has hit the skids since early January. Shares touched a high point on Jan. 6 at 168.11, barely nudging out of a saucer-with-handle buy point at 167.85. But the breakout turned out to be a flop and shares have since plunged…