Pfizer lifts annual earning guidance, as key drugs drive third-quarter sales

Pfizer announced Tuesday alongside its third-quarter financial results that it expects earnings per share this year to be in the range of $2.58 to $2.62, lifted from a previous estimate of between $2.54 per share and $2.60 per share. The company added that annual sales are now forecast to be in the range of $52.4 billion to $53.1 billion, narrowed from an earlier prediction of $52 billion to $54 billion.

CEO Ian Read remarked "we reported solid third-quarter 2017 financial results and raised the midpoint of the range for our 2017 adjusted diluted [earnings per share] guidance." Read noted that in the quarter, revenue from the Innovative Health division grew 11 percent year-over-year to $8.1 billion, "primarily driven by the performance of our key growth drivers, notably Ibrance, Eliquis, Xtandi and Xeljanz."

Pfizer reported that sales of Ibrance jumped 60 percent versus the prior-year period to $878 million, falling short of analyst estimates of $914 million, while revenue from Eliquis climbed 43 percent to $644 million. Further, quarterly sales of Xeljanz lifted 48 percent to $348 million, while Xtandi, which the company gained last year via the purchase of Medivation, reached $150 million.

For other products, sales of Prevnar 13/Prevenar 13 dipped 1 percent year-over-year to $1.5 billion. The drugmaker added that quarterly sales of Enbrel slipped 13 percent to $613 million, with lower revenues from the product in most developed Europe markets due to biosimilar competition.

"While Essential Health revenues remained challenged primarily due to continued headwinds from products that recently lost marketing exclusivity and product supply, we had solid operational growth in emerging markets and in biosimilars," Read added. Quarterly sales in the Essential Health unit declined 12 percent to $5.1 billion, while revenue in emerging markets grew 10 percent to $2.8 billion, with sales of biosimilars surging 70 percent to $141 million.

In the three-month period, Pfizer's overall revenue increased 1 percent to $13.2 billion, meeting analyst estimates, as net income reached $2.8 billion, up from $1.4 billion in the prior year.

The company added that sales of consumer health products rose 4 percent to $829 million. Pfizer recently disclosed that it is reviewing strategic options for its consumer healthcare business, including a full or partial separation of the unit through a spin-off, sale or other transaction, with a decision due next year.

Commenting on the results, Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan said "Prevnar was a notable beat this quarter," adding "we view these results as refreshingly boring and, given how biopharma stocks have reacted this quarter to disappointing results or product announcements, we think boring is a good thing right now."

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