What happened

Unlike the vast majority of biopharma stocks, AbbVie's (NYSE:ABBV) stock actually lost ground in January. The drugmaker's shares, in fact, fell by an unsightly 12.9% during the first month of the new year, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

What went wrong for this top biopharma last month? AbbVie's January swoon can be directly attributed to its disappointing fourth-quarter earnings report released on Jan. 25. 

Man in a suit facing a wall with a sea of white arrows all pointing in one direction, and a single, yellow arrow pointing in the opposite direction.

Image Source: Getty Images.

So what

Not only did the company miss consensus on revenue for the three-month period, but it also posted a loss of $1.23 per share on a GAAP basis due to a $4.1 billion impairment charge associated with the 2016 acquisition of Stemcentrx. AbbVie apparently decided to write-off this costly acquisition after Rova-T repeatedly failed to hit the mark as a later-line lung cancer treatment last year.

Topping it off, AbbVie also noted that international sales of its flagship anti-inflammatory medicine Humira fell by a whopping 14.8% year over year as a result of biosimilar competition in certain markets. This double-digit sales decline wasn't exactly a surprise by any means, but it does arguably mark the end of a particularly fruitful era for the company.  

Now what

Can AbbVie rebound after this weak start to the new year? Unfortunately, this blue chip biopharma seems destined to struggle this year. The core issue is that the biopharma's next-generation immunology drug candidates -- risankizumab and upadacitinib -- aren't expected to ramp up quickly enough to offset Humira's declining international sales this year.

On the bright side, AbbVie's fortunes are expected to change for the better as soon as 2020. Bargain hunters, therefore, might want to take advantage of this temporary lull to grab some shares of this top drugmaker.

George Budwell owns shares of AbbVie. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.