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Pfizer raises forecast following growth of biopharma business

On the flip-side company reported decline in Upjohn generics division


Pfizer has raised its full-year guidance following strong performance of its biopharma business, as it moves away from consumer health to re-focus attention on its growth prospects.

Pfizer has reported revenues of $12.7bn, which is an increase on the consensus forecast of $12.2bn, in its third quarter report. Now that Pfizer has completed the transaction to make its consumer healthcare business a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline, it has firmly set its sights on growing its Biopharma division.

This includes oncology, which was a major source of growth for the American pharma giant in Q3 with growth of 30% in comparison to last year’s Q3 business. One particular driver of this growth was CDK inhibitor Ibrance (palbociclib), which grew by 27% to $1.3bn in the quarter.

According to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla (pictured below), this continued growth was due largely to the company’s “effort to target specific physicians who had not been prescribing CDK inhibitors or had prescribed them to only a small set of patients”.

Albert bourla

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla

Pfizer’s prostate cancer therapy Xtandi (enzalutamide) also grew in alliance revenues by 25% to $225m. It’s also looking to add an additional indication for the treatment of men with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, which it has received an FDA priority review designation for with a final appraisal date due in December.

For Pfizer, the potential approval in this indication could help drive Xtandi's growth even further – the drug picked up an approval in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) with non-metastatic CRPC last year.

Inlyta (axitinib) has also seen its revenues increase 98% to $139m, thanks to recent FDA approvals for the comination of the drug with Bavencio (avelumab) and Keytruda (pembrolizumab).

Aside from its oncology business, Pfizer also saw growth of its global revenues for Xeljanz to $599m due to continued volume growth in the rheumatoid arthritis indication and the recent launch for psoriatic arthritis in the US.

On the flip-side, Pfizer reported a decline in revenue for its Upjohn generics business, which was down 26% in the quarter. This was primarily due to volume declines of anti-seizure drug Lyrica (pregabalin), due to multi-source generic competition that began in July 2019 in the US.

However, the Upjohn business in China saw growth, with revenues increasing 2% operationally. Pfizer has now raised the full year 2019 revenues in China to grow by mid-to-high single digits instead of low-to-mid single digit growth, which had been the previous quarter’s prediction.

The company also expects new launches and a growing pipeline to help drive Upjohn’s growth in the next few years. It will also likely see growth following its merger with generics company Mylan, which was announced in July and expected to be completed by next year.

Pfizer expects adjusted earnings per share to be between $2.94 and $3.00, an increase from previous predictions of between $2.76 and $2.86. It also has forecast 2019 sales of $51.2bn to $52.2bn, up from the previously predicted $50.5bn to $52.5bn.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

30th October 2019

From: Sales



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