Pfizer Lifts Outlook on Strong Omicron Booster Sales

Drugmaker tops Q3 earnings estimates, raises annual forecast

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Key Takeaways

  • Pfizer's Q3 adjusted earnings of $1.78 per share easily beat estimates.
  • The drugmaker raised its annual outlook for earnings and COVID-19 vaccine sales.
  • Pfizer is counting on acquisitions and its own research pipeline to sustain growth amid patent expirations later in the decade.
  • Pfizer also announced "positive" top-line results from a late-stage trial of its maternal RSV virus vaccine for newborns.
Pfizer Earnings Results
Metric Beat/Miss/Match Reported Value Analysts' Prediction
Adjusted Earnings
Per Share ($)
Beat  1.78 1.39
Revenue ($B) Beat 22.6 20.8

Source: Predictions based on analysts’ consensus from Visible Alpha

Pfizer Financial Results: Analysis

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) handily beat analysts' earnings expectations early on Nov. 1, 2022, and lifted the sales forecast for its COVID-19 vaccine, sending shares 2.8% higher by midday Tuesday.

The leading U.S. drugmaker posted adjusted earnings of $1.78 per share for Q3 FY 2022, up from EPS of $1.27 a year earlier and ahead of market expectations for $1.39. Revenue fell 6% year-over-year to $22.6 billion against unusually strong sales in the year-ago quarter, but still topped estimates.

Pfizer raised its 2022 sales forecast for the Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine to $34 billion from $32 billion. It maintained guidance for $22 billion in annual revenue from the Paxlovid antiviral treatment. Comirnaty and Paxlovid accounted for about 57% of the company's revenue over the first nine months of FY 2022.

Pfizer raised its FY 2022 adjusted EPS forecast to a range of $6.40 to 6.50, from $6.30 to $6.45 previously.

U.S. COVID-19 vaccine sales soared 83% from a year earlier, driven by the deliveries of the Omicron-adapted bivalent booster shots following an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in late August. Paxlovid, a highly effective COVID-19 retroviral treatment authorized for emergency use in late 2021, was Pfizer's bestselling drug with quarterly revenue of $7.5 billion.

Pfizer's Product Pipeline and Patent Cliffs

The company said it expected to launch 19 products or indications over the next 18 months, part of an effort to prepare for the patent cliff, or the scheduled expiration in coming years of marketing exclusivity for top drugs including the pneumonia vaccine Prevnar 13, anticoagulant Eliquis, and prostate cancer treatment Xtandi.

"We recognize that some are questioning Pfizer’s longer-term growth prospects⁠—particularly in the 2025-2030 timeframe," said CEO Albert Bourla on the earnings call. "That’s understandable given that we currently expect a negative impact of approximately $17 billion in revenues from losses of exclusivity during that period. We believe we not only can overcome these expected declines, but also can potentially generate strong growth through the end of the decade."

Toward that end, the company in October 2022 completed acquisitions of migraine treatments developer Biohaven for $12.8 billion and Global Blood Therapeutics, a biotechnology company specializing in therapies for sickle cell disease, for $5.6 billion.

Pfizer also announced Nov. 1 that a late-stage trial of its maternal vaccine designed to protect newborns against the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) showed efficacy of nearly 82% against severe medically attended lower respiratory tract illness due to RSV in infants through the first three months after birth, and 69% efficacy over six months.

Article Sources
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