Pfizer’s major drug doubles sales but overall revenue falls
Pfizer revealed in its briefing on its second quarter financials that Ibrance, its breast cancer treatment, had grown in sales by 66% but overall revenue was down to $12.9 billion from $13.15 billion.
The company revealed that the primary reason for this drop off in sales was due to the generic erosion of its essential health segment, which sells older, off-patent drugs. In this area, sales dropped by 14% to $5.23 billion.
In other worrying news for the company, sales of Xtandi, its prostate cancer med, were disappointing at $141 million. The decision brings into serious question the decision to acquire Medivation, who had previously sold the drug, in a $14 billion deal last year.
The company also faces serious patent expirations on Viagra that will happen in the US later this year. Another major patent expiration is Lyrica’s at the end of 2018, a drug that brought in $4.96 billion last year.
For its part, the company is well aware that it has a major hole to plug in sales and Ian Read, CEO, addressed this at the same time as the financials. He stated: “We have a strong pipeline with a steady flow of scientific innovation coming from all of our key therapeutic areas. 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, and we believe half of these potential blockbusters could receive approval by 2020. Our strategy remains focused on maximising in-market opportunities while continuing to advance the pipeline and managing our cost structure to deliver attractive financial performance over time”.
The recent approval of immunotherapy treatment Bavencio, a drug developed alongside Merck KGaA, will be a major source of hope to plug the sales gap. It has the potential, as the fourth approved treatment in this area, to gather some of the PD-1/PD-L1 market for itself and continued this process with an EMA CHMP positive opinion for the treatment metastatic merkel cell carcinoma at the end of last month.
Some other positives noted in the financials were the performance of Ibrance that grew by 66% to reap sales of $853 million, above analyst expectations of $758 million. Its rheumatoid arthritis treatment, Xeljanz, also performed above what was predicted by bringing in sales of $366 million.
Analysts have not been overly impressed with the performance of the company, with some calling for it to become more active in making acquisitions to boost its pipeline. After the failure of AstraZeneca’s Mystic trial, there could be those who wonder whether the company could return to look at AZ as a potential target.
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