Pfizer's second-quarter profit jumps 30%, as Ibrance, Eliquis, Xeljanz drive biopharma sales

Headline results for the second quarter:

Biopharma unit

$9.6 billion


Upjohn unit

$2.8 billion



$13.3 billion (forecast of $13.4 billion)



$5 billion


Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:


"We reported solid second-quarter 2019 financial results," remarked CEO Albert Bourla, due mainly to "6% volume-driven operational growth in our biopharma business, including continued growth of key brands such as Ibrance, Eliquis and Xeljanz as well as in emerging markets." The executive noted that "growth was partially offset primarily by the impact of generic and biosimilar competition for products that have lost marketing exclusivity, as well as the expected decline of Upjohn revenues in China."

Separately on Monday, Pfizer announced plans to combine its Upjohn off-patent branded and generic established medicines business with Mylan into a new company, confirming a recent report on the matter.

Other results:

  • Ibrance: $1.3 billion, +23%, fuelled by 67% operational growth in international markets and 12% growth in the US
  • Prevnar 13/Prevenar 13: $1.2 billion, -6%, mainly due to lower governmental purchases in the second quarter for the paediatric indication and continued revenue erosion for the adult indication
  • Lyrica: $1.2 billion, -4%, primarily due to volume declines as a result of wholesaler destocking in advance of expected competition
  • Eliquis alliance revenue and direct sales: $1.1 billion, +22%, principally driven by continued increased adoption in non-valvular atrial fibrillation and market gains in the oral anti-coagulant segment
  • Xeljanz: $613 million, +32%, driven by 103% operational growth in international markets as well as 21% US growth
  • Enbrel (outside the US and Canada): $420 million, -24%, attributable primarily to biosimilar competition in most developed European markets
  • Xtandi alliance revenue: $201 million, +18%
  • Consumer healthcare: $862 million, -3%

Looking ahead:

Pfizer now expects sales of between $50.5 billion and $52.5 billion this year, down from a prior estimate of $52 billion to $54 billion, to reflect the formation of the consumer healthcare joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline and the near-completion of its deal to purchase Array BioPharma. Meanwhile, earnings per share are now estimated to be in the range of $2.76 to $2.86, cut from previous guidance of $2.83 per share to $2.93 per share.

Pipeline update:

Pfizer said that it has decided, together with partner Eli Lilly, to submit a US filing for the  2.5-mg dose of subcutaneous tanezumab in patients with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis (OA) in the fourth quarter of 2019 or early 2020, followed by potential filings in the EU and Japan. Regulatory submissions are not planned "at this time" for the 5-mg dose of the NGF inhibitor in OA or in patients with moderate-to-severe chronic low back pain, Pfizer added.

In regards to the investigational gene therapy PF-06939926 for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), Pfizer said it is "in the planning stages for a global, randomised, placebo-controlled Phase III study…expected to begin in the first half of 2020." Meanwhile, the company reiterated that it aims to enroll approximately 12 boys with DMD who are ambulatory and aged 5 to 12 years in an ongoing Phase Ib study of the treatment, with six participants having already received a one-time intravenous dose of PF-06939926 at either the 1e14 vg/kg or 3e14 vg/kg doses. 

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