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Pfizer beats earnings estimates as new products grow

Lyrica, Inlyta and Xalkori help offset generic competition
Pfizer headquarters

Pfizer reported positive fourth-quarter figures yesterday with revenues ahead of expectations despite dipping 2 per cent to $13.56bn.

Generic competition to mature products such as erectile dysfunction therapy Viagra (sildenafil) - which fell 14 per cent to $476m - as well as the strength of the dollar took their toll on turnover, but this was offset by gains for newer products such as fibromyalgia treatment Lyrica (pregabalin), Inlyta (axitinib) for kidney cancer and lung cancer therapy Xalkori (crizotinib).

Pfizer's chief executive Ian Read described the results as a "solid financial performance" that gave him "confidence in the competitive positioning of our commercial businesses" in 2014.

Pfizer's biggest-selling drug was once again Lyrica - rising 13 per cent to $1.26bn - followed by pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar which climbed 3 per cent to $1.12bn and arthritis drug Enbrel (etanercept), up 5 per cent to just over $1bn in the quarter.

Inlyta sales swelled from $47m a year ago to $102m, while Xalkori doubled to $89m, collectively adding nearly $600m to Pfizer's $51.58bn in revenues for 2013 as a whole. Meanwhile, Pfizer's JAK inhibitor Xeljanz (tofacitinib) for rheumatoid arthritis - which was approved in the US in 2012 - brought in $46m, up from $35m in the third-quarter of 2013.

Net income - down 59 per cent to $2.57bn - suffered from a comparison with the last quarter of 2012 when its profit was inflated by the sale of its Zoetis animal health unit, but the 2013 results was also better than predicted by analysts.

The company is banking on the potential in its pipeline to help it gain ground with the loss of patent protection for former $13bn-a-year blockbuster Lipitor (atorvastatin) in 2012, and has high hopes for breast cancer hope palbociclib - tipped as a $2.9bn product if approved - as well as a new version of Prevnar targeted at use in the elderly that could add another $1bn to its turnover.

CEO Read made no mention of any plans to continue the break-up of Pfizer after the divestment of its animal health and nutrition businesses, something which has been rumoured since it separated its drugs unit into three divisions: two focusing on branded drugs and a separate generics unit

Chief financial officer Frank D'Amelio reiterated the company's position that it will need three years of operations before taking a decision on any split.

Article by
Phil Taylor

29th January 2014

From: Sales



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