Key drug sales push Pfizer profit up 50 percent
Rising sales of key drugs, lower one-time charges and reduced manufacturing costs helped drive Pfizer's profit up 50 percent in the second quarter.
The top U.S. drugmaker by sales beat Wall Street profit forecasts, tweaked its own forecast for the year, and predicted numerous lucrative drugs will be approved over the next half-decade.
Still, cheaper generic competition continues to gnaw away at Pfizer's revenue, which fell short of analyst expectations.
The Viagra maker on Tuesday reported quarterly profit of $3.07 billion, or 51 cents per share, up from $2.05 billion, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier. Adjusted income of 67 cents per share beat analysts' average estimate by two cents.
The New York drugmaker posted revenue of $12.9 billion, just missing forecasts for $13.02 billion.
Top sellers including Lyrica, new breast cancer drug Ibrance and blood thinner Eliquis all produced higher sales, helping lift revenue from Pfizer's patented-protected drugs by 8 percent, to $7.67 billion. Pfizer's essential health segment, which sells older products that are mostly off patent, had sales drop 14 percent to $5.23 billion. Within that segment, sales of sterile injectable drugs declined 4 percent to $1.44 billion, while the unit selling older pills that mostly are former blockbusters saw sales drop 5 percent to $2.71 billion, led by Lipitor.
The cholesterol-fighting pill reigned as the world's top seller for a decade. Nearly six years after getting generic competition, Lipitor still ranks No. 7 in sales, at $445 million in the quartet, partly because a few newer drugs have produced lower-than-expected sales.
Some new medicines are coming, though. In May, Bavencio got U.S. approval for treating advanced bladder cancer, and Pfizer's drug for a type of leukemia could get approved this month.
"We have a strong pipeline with a steady flow of scientific innovation coming from all of our key therapeutic areas," CEO Ian Read said in a company release. "Over the next five years, we project the potential for approximately 25 to 30 approvals of which up to 15 have the potential to be blockbusters," meaning their annual sales would top $1 billion.
Sales at Pfizer's consumer health business edged up 1 percent, to $846 million.
Pfizer now expects full-year earnings in the range of $2.54 to $2.60 per share, raising just the lower end from the company's May forecast by 4 cents. The company maintained a 2017 revenue forecast of between $52 billion and $54 billion.
Pfizer shares, up 2 percent since the beginning of the year, rose 6 cents to $33.24 before the opening bell