AbbVie, which recently abandoned its proposed $55 billion acquisition of Shire, has posted a strong set of financials for the third quarter, thanks again to its anti-inflammatory blockbuster Humira.

Net income fell by nearly half to $506 million from $964 million in the like, year-earlier period, while revenues rose 7.8% to $5.02 billion. The majority of that came from Humira (adalimumab), which is approved for indications covering rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis; the world's best-selling drug contributed $3.26 billion, a rise of 17.5%.

The company’s lipids franchise, made up of drugs such as TriCor (fenofibrate), TriLipix (fenofibric acid) and Niaspan (niacin), brought in just $63 million, collapsing 76.9%,  while AbbVie's AndroGel testosterone replacement therapy fell 6.7% to $232 million.

On the bright side, revenues from the HIV drug Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) increased 8.4% to $256 million, while the respiratory treatment Synagis (palivizumab), the AstraZeneca drug sold by AbbVie outside the USA, rose 11.9% to $109 million. Sales of the prostate cancer drug Lupron (leuprolide) were flat at $196 million, while the hypothyroid medication Synthroid (levothyroxine) climbed 24.3% to $200 million.

Chief executive Richard Gonzalez noted that “our underlying business grew nearly 14% in the quarter excluding lipids”, noting that “we exceeded our outlook for the quarter and have significantly raised our original 2014 guidance”. The firm raised its profit forecast to $3.25-$3.27 per share from earlier guidance of $3.06-$3.16.

The strong results will help soften the blow of the failed Shire bid, which fell apart at the end of last month as a result of the US Department of Treasury's changes to taxation rules designed to stop American companies using foreign takeovers as a means to lower their taxes. AbbVie paid Shire a $1.64 billion break-up fee and the termination resulted in other costs of $283 million.

On a conference call, Mr Gonzalez said “I don’t think it’s likely we will do another $50 billion deal”, adding that “there were certain attributes of the Shire transaction that made it unique and out of the normal course of our M&A strategy”. However, the firm will look at smaller acquisitions that make strategic sense.

Mr Gonzalez added that AbbVie expects to get US approval in the fourth quarter for its interferon-free hepatitis C combination, “which will further accelerate sales and earnings growth in 2015 and beyond."