Pfizer keeps COVID-19 vaccine for 2022 and outlook for pill sales unchanged


Pfizer Inc. maintained its outlook for annual sales of its Covid-19 vaccine and treatment, disappointing investors looking for the products to continue to fuel growth.

As of mid-April, Pfizer said it has secured $32 billion in 2022 contracts for the injection, Comirnaty, and $22 billion for its Covid pill, Paxlovid, the same numbers it released three months ago. Wall Street analysts had estimated annual revenues of approximately $34 billion from Comirnaty, which the company makes in partnership with BioNTech SE, and $27 billion in revenues from Paxlovid.

Shares fluctuated early Tuesday and had changed little by 9:35 a.m. in New York. Until Monday’s closing price, they had plunged 18% since the start of the year, underperforming the broader sector. US depositary receipts for shares of BioNTech, which shares Comirnaty’s profits with Pfizer, were up 1.2%. Rival vaccine maker Moderna Inc. fell 0.3%.

The New York-based drugmaker also left its forecast for total annual sales of $98 billion to $102 billion unchanged. While investors hope the market for Covid-fighting products will continue to grow, Pfizer’s shot and pill already accounts for more than half of that forecast, as well as more than half of its quarterly revenue.

Pfizer generated first-quarter revenue of $25.7 billion, of which $13.2 billion came from Comirnaty, surpassing Wall Street’s estimate of $10.6 billion. Over 80% of the shot’s sales came from outside the US

While Pfizer has dominated the global market for coronavirus vaccines, concerns remain that demand is dwindling due to oversupply. Last month, Johnson & Johnson suspended its own Covid vaccine forecast, citing a worldwide overdose of shots.

Paxlovid sold $1.5 billion in the quarter, beating analysts’ estimate of $2.4 billion, with the vast majority of revenue coming from the US. Pfizer said it has produced 8 million courses of Paxlovid to date and shipped its entire stock of the treatment.

Growth prospects

Management is likely to be asked questions during the conference call about unchanged guidance for the sale of the Covid products, which investors had expected to drive additional growth. The forecast could “signal a slowdown in any kind of Covid-19 benefit,” making investors feel “cautious,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Evan David Seigerman said in a note.

Pfizer’s leadership will strive to address these concerns during the investor call, noting that they want to further expand the market for Comirnaty and Paxlovid in certain populations. Pfizer said it plans to start a new study of the drug in patients with compromised immune systems in the second half of 2022. These patients have more difficulty resolving infections and the study will try to optimize treatment duration.

The drugmaker also said it expects to provide data to US regulators in late May or early June from a study of its Covid vaccine in children 6 months to 4 years old. The trial has encountered significant delays as Pfizer decided to evaluate a three-dose regimen rather than the typical two-dose regimen after the omicron variant affected its potency.

Pfizer said it expects advisory committees from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to meet shortly after it submits the data to consider the application.

“Overall, we expect recent trends to expand access, as well as inquiries from governments as the virus mutates and causes spikes in infections around the world, to lead to more orders in the coming months,” said Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla in a statement. prepared comments.

Pfizer still sees sustainable Covid-19 revenue driving growth from 2025 to 2030, according to slides released ahead of the first quarter earnings call.

Accounting Shift

Excluding Covid-fighting products, Pfizer’s first-quarter pharmaceutical revenues increased 2% from a year ago to approximately $11 billion.

First quarter earnings were $1.62 per share, which beat analysts’ average expectation of $1.55. At the request of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Pfizer has changed its adjusted income accounting. The company now includes costs associated with milestone payments on partnerships and in-license agreements in the figure. Based on the same accounting change, Pfizer reduced its 2022 adjusted earnings forecast margin by 10 cents to $6.25 to $6.45 per share.

(Updates with additional details from the sixth paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the adjusted quarterly profit in the last paragraph.)

—With help from Madison Muller.

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