UPDATE 2-AbbVie expects hep C drug sales to top $3 billion per year
(Adds analyst comment)
By Bill Berkrot
Jan 30 (Reuters) - AbbVie Inc's chief executive said on Friday the company's new oral hepatitis C treatment Viekira Pak has the potential to capture a "meaningful share" of the U.S. market, where it is competing against Gilead Sciences .
AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez told investors the company expects an annualized sales run rate of more than $3 billion by the end of 2015, which could grow as more countries begin using Viekira Pak.
"We expect it to remain a large and attractive opportunity for many years to come," Gonzalez said.
AbbVie shares fell 3.6 percent to $60.85 as investors were disappointed by the Viekira forecast.
"It was carefully worded in the most optimistic way possible," BMO analyst Alex Arfaei said. An exit rate of above $3 billion in 2015, "indicates that sales in 2015 will be below $3 billion."
With Merck expected to launch its rival treatment in 2016, he said, "we expect additional price competition in this market."
Some analysts have forecast annual Gilead hepatitis C sales in excess of $15 billion. Continued...