Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) has just announced that it has completed the separation of its research-based pharmaceuticals division, now known as AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV*). The new company is entirely independent and will trade under its own new stock ticker, starting today.

Abbott Laboratories Logo

“We wish our colleagues at AbbVie continued success as they become part of a new, independent company that is already making a significant difference, focusing on highly specialized, market-leading therapies for some of the world’s most difficult-to-treat diseases,” Abbott chairman and CEO, Miles D. White, said in a statement this morning.

In November, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT)’s board distributed outstanding shares of AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV*). For each share of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) stock held on Dec. 12, shareholders received one share of AbbVie (NYSE:AABV).

Abbott made the announcement that it would split into two separate companies in October 2011. AbbVie will focus purely on research-based specialty biopharmaceuticals, including virology and immunology. Abbott Labs will focus on selling generic medications, nutritional products and diagnostic testing products.

The Chicago Sun Times reports that AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV*) will carry Abbott’s blockbuster immunology drug Humira, which is used to treat Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other immune system-related diseases. That drug alone will likely account for more than half of AbbVie’s sales and over 70 percent of the company’s profit. Analysts interviewed by the Sun Times saw the new company’s reliance on Humira as one of the biggest risks associated with buying the new stock. However, they also said sales of the drug could grow as it becomes approved for use in new areas.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) has been in business for 125 years, and it starts the year with about $22 billion in revenues, generated in 150 countries.