AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) stock was defying gravity on Friday, rising on the back of an encouraging first-quarter earnings report published this morning.

For the quarter, the veteran pharmaceutical company booked non-GAAP (adjusted) net revenue of just over $12.94 billion, a robust 50% over the Q1 2020 result. Net profit also saw a double-digit rise, increasing by 18% to $3.55 billion. On a non-GAAP per-share basis, AbbVie netted $2.95, up from the year-ago figure of $2.42.

A pharmacist completing a payment card purchase at a pharmacy.

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Both line items comfortably exceeded the average analyst estimates. Prognosticators were modeling $12.76 on the top line and $2.83 per share for adjusted net profit.

AbbVie enjoyed increased sales in both its overall therapeutic categories and with individual drugs. Its leading product, Humira, saw a 3.5% uptick to just under $4.9 billion for the quarter. Meanwhile, the company's aesthetic drugs saw a sharp increase of almost 35% during the period, contributing more than $1.1 billion to revenue.

CEO Richard Gonzalez waxed enthusiastic about the immediate future. In the earnings release, AbbVie quoted him as saying that "Our new products are delivering impressive performance and we are on the cusp of potential commercial approvals for more than a dozen new products or indications over the next two years – including five expected approvals in 2021."

Putting its money where its mouth is, the company raised its profitability guidance for this year. It now expects it will post an adjusted per-share net profit of $12.37 to $12.57 for the year, up from its previous range of $12.32 to $12.52.

This was a fine quarter for AbbVie; given its strong pipeline, the company is poised for more growth. The stock was up 0.6% in late afternoon trading Friday in contrast to the 0.7% decline of the S&P 500 index.

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