Company news: Abbott, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb

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Abbott Laboratories announced Wednesday that sales hit $9.5 billion for the quarter ended March 31, a 4.6% increase over the same period last year. US sales made up $4 billion of the total take, and international sales came in at $6 billion. Humira sales jumped 17.4% to $2 billion for the quarter. The EMA approved the RA drug for ulcerative colitis April 11 and Abbott has started Phase 3 trials for its use to treat skin condition hidradenitis suppurativa. Sales of testosterone replacement drug AndroGel leaped 24% over the same period last year, to $241 million. Sales for triglyceride drug Triplix/Tricor (fenofirbate) lost steam, dropping 12%, to $329 million, compared with the same period last year, joined by HIV med Kaletra (lopinavir/r tonavir), which saw sales dip 15%, to $221 million, compared with the same period last  year. Analysts were expecting the fall-off and said they were heartened by the overall results. Deutsche Bank's Barbara Ryan said in a research note that Humira sales beat the firm's estimates by $191 million. She said the upcoming split, which Abbott said remains on track, looks promising.

Pfizer's move to separate itself from its nutrition business is rumored to be gaining momentum. The drug maker announced its intent to sell- or spin- off its animal health and nutrition businesses in July 2011, and The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Nestle could beat out Danone for the infant nutrition segment with a bid approaching at least $9 billion. Pfizer spokesperson Joan Campion dismissed the media chatter, telling MM&M that they are “based on market rumor and speculation on which we won't comment.” Pfizer stated in its annual report that it expects the fate of its animal and nutrition businesses to be decided this year and completed between July 2012 and July 2013. Insiders tell Bloomberg a winner could be declared next week.

The pharmaceutical industry landed two spots on CR Magazine's list of top corporate citizens. Forbes reported Tuesday that the magazine, which was launched by the American Association for Cancer Research, gave drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb the No. 1 spot, while Abbott Labs placed 20th out of 100. The companies were graded on environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance and philanthropy.

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