Abbott Laboratories yesterday turned in an investor-pleasing set of second-quarter financials, with earnings boosted 62% to $988 million on the strength of its anti-inflammatory Humira (adalimumab), sending shares up as much as 3% on the New York Stock Exchange during the day.

Revenues worldwide jumped 16% to $6.4 billion, but the US saw the best performance with sales there hurtling upwards 27% as Humira, the migraine drug Depakote (divalproex sodium), TriCor (fenofibrate) for cholesterol lowering and the HIV medication Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) all added significantly to its coffers.

Indeed, Humira sales escalated almost 50% globally to $735 million for the three months, triggering Abbott to raise its full year forecasts for the arthritis and Crohn’s disease medicine to in excess of $2.8 billion from earlier forecasts of around $2.7 billion. Depakote reeled in $404 million (+27%), while Kaletra was next in line with $315 million (+19%) and TriCor pulled in a not-insignificant $302 million (+21%).

However, it was not such good news from the antibiotic Biaxin (clarithromycin), which saw sales drop 12%. The anaesthetic Ultane/Sevorane (sevoflurane) and the hypothyroid medication Synthroid (levothyroxine) also saw around a 5% dip in revenues.

Merck transfers Niaspan rights to Abbott

Revenues from Niaspan – a nicotinic acid product for lipid management - were $170 million during the second quarter. European partner Merck KGaA yesterday said that it is transferring rights to the product to Abbott, which acquired the product when it bought Kos Pharmaceuticals last year. Merck signed a deal in 2002 with Kos for all territories outside of North America and Japan, and drew in sales of 7 million euros in 2006.

Overall, worldwide pharmaceutical sales amounted to $3.5 billion, a rise of 17% over the same quarter last year. However, for the full year Abbott is narrowing its earnings-per-share guidance range to between $2.80 and $2.84 on the back of acquisition integration, cost reduction initiatives, and adjustments related to Abbott's ownership of Boston Scientific stock. It also confirmed previous third-quarter projections of 64 cents to 66 cents a share.