Pfizer Inc. maintained its outlook for full-year sales of its Covid-19 vaccine and treatment, disappointing investors who had hoped the products would continue to drive growth.
As of mid-April, Pfizer said it had secured $32bn in 2022 contracts for the injection, Comirnaty, and $22bn for its Covid pill, Paxlovid, the same figures it released three months ago. Wall Street analysts had estimated around $34 billion in annual sales of Comirnaty, which the company produces in partnership with BioNTech SE, and $27 billion in sales of Paxlovid.
Shares fluctuated early Tuesday and were little changed as of 9:35 am in New York. As of Monday’s close, they had slumped 18% since the start of the year, underperforming the broader sector. BioNTech’s US depository receipts, which split Comirnaty’s profits with Pfizer, rose 1.2%. Rival vaccine maker Moderna Inc. fell 0.3%.
The New York-based drugmaker also left its full-year overall revenue forecast unchanged from $98 billion to $102 billion. Although investors expect the market for Covid-fighting products to continue to expand, Pfizer’s injection and pill already account for more than half of that forecast, as well as more than half of its quarterly revenue.
Pfizer generated $25.7 billion in sales in the first quarter, of which $13.2 billion came from Comirnaty, beating Wall Street’s estimate of $10.6 billion. Over 80% of shot sales came from outside the US.
While Pfizer has dominated the global market for coronavirus vaccines, concerns remain that demand is falling due to oversupply. Last month, Johnson & Johnson suspended its own Covid vaccine forecast, citing a global surplus of shots.
Paxlovid sold $1.5 billion in the quarter, below analysts’ estimate of $2.4 billion, with the vast majority of revenue coming from the US. Pfizer said it has produced 8 million Paxlovid courses to date. the date and sent the entire treatment supply.
Management is likely to face questions on the conference call about its unchanged guidance for sales of Covid products, which investors had hoped to fuel additional growth. The forecast could “signal a slowdown in any kind of Covid-19 gains,” which would make investors feel “cautious,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Evan David Seigerman said in a note.
Pfizer leadership will attempt to address those concerns during the investor call, noting that they are looking to further expand the market for Comirnaty and Paxlovid in certain populations. Pfizer said it plans to launch a new study of the drug in patients with compromised immune systems in the second half of 2022. These patients have a harder time clearing infections, and the study will seek to optimize the length of treatment.
The drugmaker also said it expects to submit data to US regulators from a study of its Covid vaccine in children ages 6 months to 4 years in late May or early June. The trial has faced significant delays as Pfizer decided to test a three-dose regimen instead of 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 soon after submitting the data to consider the application.
“Overall, we expect recent trends to expand access, as well as inquiries received from governments as the virus mutates and causes spikes in infections around the world, to result in increased orders in the coming years. months,” Executive Director Albert Bourla said in prepared remarks.
Pfizer still sees enduring revenue from Covid-19 as driving growth from 2025 to 2030, according to slides released ahead of the first-quarter earnings call.
Excluding products to combat Covid, Pfizer’s first-quarter pharmaceutical revenue grew 2% from a year earlier to about $11 billion.
First quarter profit was $1.62 per share, beating analysts’ average expectation of $1.55. At the request of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Pfizer has changed its adjusted earnings accounting. The company now includes expenses related to milestone payments on partnerships and licensing deals in the figure. Based on the same accounting change, Pfizer lowered its forecast range for 2022 adjusted earnings by 10 cents to $6.25 to $6.45 per share.
(Updates with additional sixth paragraph details. An earlier version of this story corrected quarterly adjusted profit in the last paragraph.)
–With the assistance of Madison Muller.