Pfizer hikes 2021 outlook after vaccine boosts sales, profit

AP – Strong sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and other medicines helped Pfizer nearly double its second-quarter revenue and boost its profit an impressive 59 per cent, beating Wall Street expectations and leading the drug giant to sharply hike its 2021 sales and profit forecasts.

Amid the surging coronavirus pandemic, the COVID-19 vaccine became Pfizer’s top seller, bringing in USD7.84 billion from direct sales and revenue split with its partner, Germany’s BioNTech.

The New York company now anticipates revenue from the vaccine this year to reach USD33.5 billion for the 2.1 billion doses it’s contracted to provide by year end. That’s just USD2 billion shy of Pfizer’s total revenue in the second quarter last year.

The maker of breast cancer drug Ibrance yesterday reported second-quarter net income of USD5.56 billion, or 98 cents per share, up from USD3.49 billion, or 62 cents per share.

Adjusted income, excluding one-time gains and losses, amounted to USD6.08 billion, or USD1.07 per share, well above the 97 cents that Wall Street had expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

A syringe being filled with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. PHOTO: AP

The drugmaker also beat revenue expectations, posting revenue of USD18.98 billion, up from USD9.86 billion a year earlier.

In a prepared statement, Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla called the quarter “remarkable”, noting Pfizer and BioNTech have already delivered more than one billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine globally. Bourla noted the rest of Pfizer’s business posted sales growth of 10 per cent, excluding effects of currency exchange rates.

Sales jumped by double digits for Pfizer’s drugs for cancer and rare diseases, as well as its medicines primarily used in hospitals. Sales of Eliquis, for preventing blood clots and strokes, jumped 16 per cent to USD1.48 billion, while Ibrance sales edged up four per cent to USD1.4 billion in the quarter. Sales of Pfizer’s portfolio of sterile injectable drugs rose 12 per cent to USD1.38 billion.

Pfizer’s pneumonia vaccine Prevnar 13 — until now the world’s most lucrative vaccine — saw sales climb 11 per cent to USD1.24 billion amid the pandemic. The company won US approval in June for an updated version for adults, Prevnar 20, that protects against seven more strains of pneumococcal disease.

In May, Pfizer and partner Myovant got approval for Myfembree, for reducing heavy menstrual bleeding due to uterine fibroids in premenopausal women.