AbbVie (ABBV 1.22%) hasn't exactly given investors a lot to get excited about so far in 2020. As of Thursday's close, its shares were down by 9% year to date, lagging well behind the S&P 500 index's performance.

However, the big drugmaker's shareholders now have a reason for at least some enthusiasm. AbbVie reported its third-quarter results before the market opened on Friday. Here are the highlights.

Female scientist holding up a red capsule while wearing gloves.

Image Source: Getty Images.

By the numbers

AbbVie announced Q3 revenue of $12.9 billion, a 52% jump from the $8.5 billion reported in the same quarter of the previous year. This result topped analysts' average revenue estimate of $12.72 billion.

The company reported Q3 net income of $2.3 billion, or $1.29 per share, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). In the prior-year period, AbbVie generated GAAP earnings of $1.9 billion, or $1.26 per share.

Adjusted earnings came in at $2.83 per share, up more than 21% year over year, and beating the consensus Wall Street estimate of $2.76 per share. 

Behind the numbers

The huge year-over-year revenue increase wasn't surprising. AbbVie's acquisition of Allergan closed in May, so the prior-year period didn't include revenues from Allergan while the recent quarter did. However, AbbVie's improvement didn't stem just from that big purchase.

AbbVie's immunology lineup continued to perform really well. Even though now Humira faces biosimilar competition outside of the U.S., global net revenue for the drug rose 4.1% year over year to $5.14 billion. The top line also received strong contributions from newer immunology drugs Skyrizi and Rinvoq, with Q3 net sales of $435 million and $215 million, respectively.

The company's blood cancer drugs delivered even stronger growth. Venclexta led the way with sales soaring 59% year over year to $352 million. Sales for Imbruvica in Q3 totaled $1.37 billion, up 9% year over year.

Allergan's lineup brought both good and bad news. Sales for antipsychotic drug Vraylar vaulted 48.4% higher to $358 million. New migraine drug Ubrelvy kicked in $38 million in sales in the quarter. However, Botox cosmetic sales slid by 2.2% to $393 million, while therapeutic sales of the product slipped 1.8% lower to $523 million.

Looking ahead

AbbVie now projects full-year GAAP earnings per share (EPS) will be between $3.89 and $3.91, down from its previously forecast range of $4.12 to $4.22. This lower outlook is due primarily to the performance of drugs that came to it via the Allergan acquisition. However, non-GAAP EPS is expected to be between $10.47 and $10.49, up from the company's previous guidance range of $10.35 to $10.45. AbbVie said that the Allergan transaction boosted its adjusted earnings forecast by 12%.

The company hopes to soon expand the approved indications for Rinvoq. CEO Rick Gonzalez stated that the performances for new drugs Rinvoq, Skyrizi, and Ubrelvy, "continue to track ahead of our expectations." This is particularly good news for the company's growth strategy given that Humira will face biosimilar competition in the U.S. beginning in 2023.

AbbVie announced one more piece of positive news for investors: The company's status as a Dividend Aristocrat appears to be rock-solid. The board of directors declared a 10.2% increase for the next dividend, which will be payable on Feb. 16 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 15.