Pfizer Profit Beats Estimates as Cancer Drug, Vaccine Grow

  • Sales of Lyrica, Prevnar and Ibrance all beat projections
  • Drugmaker raises 2015 sales, adjusted earnings guidance

Pfizer Inc. reported profit that beat analysts’ estimates after sales of Lyrica, a pain drug, and Ibrance, a breast cancer treatment, outperformed expectations. The company also raised its 2015 sales and profit outlook.

Adjusted earnings of 60 cents a share topped the average analyst estimate of 51 cents. Revenue dropped 2.2 percent to $12.1 billion, the New York-based drugmaker said in a statement Tuesday.

Pfizer is looking for its next big hit after the expiration of patents on blockbusters including cholesterol treatment Lipitor and arthritis drug Celebrex. New cancer drug Ibrance’s $230 million in revenue compared with the $207 million average estimate.

Pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar sold $1.58 billion, compared with the average estimate of $1.44 billion. Pain drug Lyrica brought in $1.22 billion, beating estimates of $1.11 billion. Rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel garnered $844 million, compared with estimates of $816 million.

Pfizer raised its 2015 profit forecast to $2.16 to $2.20 a share, excluding some items, up from the $2.04 to $2.10 a share the company provided in September after completing its $17 billion acquisition of intravenous drug maker Hospira Inc. Sales will be $47.5 billion to $48.5 billion, up from $46.5 to $47.5 billion.

The shares rose 3.4 percent to $35.32 at 9:30 a.m. in New York. They had climbed 9.7 percent this year through Monday.

The company reported third-quarter net income of $2.13 billion, or 34 cents a share, compared with $2.67 billion, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier.

Hospira Business

Hospira makes generic injectable drugs and devices to deliver them, a business that will boost Pfizer’s established drugs business, which includes off-patent medicine with slower growth and strong cash flow. The deal bolsters the division ahead of a potential split of the company, which executives have yet to make a final decision about.

Pfizer has said that any further dealmaking would probably be designed to improve the innovative side of the business, in which new drugs are discovered and developed. Pfizer walked away from a deal with AstraZeneca Plc valued at about $120 billion last year after the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on price.

The third-quarter results strengthen the argument for a breakup of Pfizer, said Alex Arfaei, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets. The performance of Prevnar, Ibrance and Lyrica show the "trapped value" in the new-drugs division, he said in a note.

Pfizer said it decided against developing arthritis drug Xeljanz for Crohn’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis, potentially limiting demand for the drug.

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