AbbVie, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that is based out of North Chicago, IL. The company was founded in 2013 as a spin-off from Abbott Laboratories and now employs around 47,000 scientists, researchers, communicators, manufacturing specialists and regulatory experts around the globe. AbbVie develops treatment options to tackle a variety of chronic conditions and life-threatening illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, atopic dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, uterine fibroids, Hepatitis C, and cancer1.
AbbVie focuses the majority of its R&D efforts in the therapeutic areas of immunology, oncology, neuroscience, virology and women's health. A report from 2019 stated that products distributed by AbbVie are sold in +175 countries worldwide, and treat over 52 million patients each year2. Furthermore, AbbVie has invested $5 billion dollars in researching new medicines in 2019 alone with the goal of further tackling diseases that affect large patients populations globally. Since its founding, Abbvie has also received a variety of awards such as the Fortune "100 Best Companies to Work For", Science Magazine's "Top Employers" and Fortune World's Most Admired Companies to name a few2.
The first AbbVie-branded product to be released was HUMIRA® in 2013. HUMIRA (adalimumab) is an anti-TNF monoclonal antibody that treats a variety of inflammatory diseases3,4. In 2019, AbbVie received its second FDA approval of a targeted immunomodulator therapy, RINVOQ® (upadacitinib), as a treatment for adult patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to methotrexate. RINVOQ is an oral JAK (Janus kinase) inhibitor that regulates the overactive immune system. RINVOQ has been shown to help reduce pain, swelling and stiffness in clinical settings, halting further joint damage3. RINVOQ is being investigated in Phase 3 studies for other immune system diseases such as atopic dermatitis, psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, giant cell arteritis, and Takayasu arteritis3.
The first AbbVie-created medicine, VIEKIRA PAK™, was approved by the FDA in 2014 for the treatment of chronic genotype 1 Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. HCV is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States, affecting over 3.2 million Americans. According to a press release in 2014, VIEKIRA PAK is also the only FDA-approved regimen that contains a NS5A inhibitor, NS3/4A protease inhibitor and a non-nucleoside NS5B polymerase inhibitor, to target three different mechanisms of action that work together to attack the virus at distinct stages of the disease lifecycle to inhibit it from reproducing 5.
AbbVie has also explored treatment for neurologic conditions. In 2015, the FDA approved DUOPA™ for the treatment of motor fluctuations in patients with advanced Parkinson's Disease6. Motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease begin when approximately 60-80 percent of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain are lost and symptoms continue to slowly worsen over time8. DUOPA distinctively administers carbidopa-levodopa as an enteral suspension that is delivered directly to the small intestine, thus bypassing the stomach. This is in contrast to conventionally used oral, immediate-release (IR) carbidopa-levodopa tablets, which have an uncontrolled mode of action because the spontaneous emptying of the stomach in Parkinson's disease patients becomes delayed and unpredictable, affecting the timing of absorption into the small intestine7. DUOPA was approved by the FDA as an orphan drug, which is granted to products that are intended for the treatment of diseases that affect less than 200,000 patients in the United States.
AbbVie's success has helped make it one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world today, and their pipeline shows promise for continued growth and scientific discoveries within their breadth of therapeutic treatments. To date, Abbvie has more than 30 products on the market and more than 50 drugs that are currently in clinical development. In 2017, the company's products brought in total revenues of $28.2 billion9.
Jackson Gartman, former President and Co-Founder of the UTSW Biotechnology Club, now works at AbbVie as a Senior Scientist in the chemistry R&D.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. https://www.michaeljfox.org/understanding-parkinsons/living-with-pd/topic.php?medication
National Parkinson Foundation. https://www.parkinson.org/Parkinson-s-Disease/PD-101/What-is-Parkinson-s-disease.