COVID-19 vaccine and treatment sales helped Pfizer breeze past Wall Street’s first-quarter expectations, as the drugmaker’s profit grew 61%.
The coronavirus vaccine Comirnaty, which has been Pfizer’s top seller for about a year, brought in more than $13 billion in sales in the quarter. The pill treatment Paxlovid, which launched late last year, added another $1.5 billion.
All that helped company revenue swell 77%, compared to last year’s quarter, when vaccine sales were still ramping up.
But Pfizer didn’t hike its full-year sales forecast for both products, as well as total revenue.
Overall, Pfizer on Tuesday posted net income of $7.86 billion, and adjusted earnings of $1.62 per share in the first quarter, easily topping the $1.49 projected by industry analysts, according to a survey by FactSet.
Revenue was $25.66 billion, also beating Wall Street expectations for $24.1 billion.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine launched in late 2020 and became the drugmaker’s top selling product by last year’s second quarter. That was before children started receiving the preventive shots and adults began receiving booster doses.
Pfizer books the vast majority of revenue from Comirnaty and splits profit, as well as the cost to make and distribute the vaccine, with development partner BioNTech.
Sales of that vaccine topped analyst expectations for the quarter, but revenue from Paxlovid fell short.
Pfizer said it still expects Comirnaty to bring in about $32 billion in sales this year, with Paxlovid recording around $22 billion.
Revenue from both products will likely wind up exceeding forecasts, Mizuho Securities USA analyst Dr. Vamil Divan said in a research note. He noted that current projections only include contracts the company signed as of mid-April.
Outside Comirnaty and Paxlovid, Pfizer makes several cancer treatments, other vaccines and internal medicine drugs like Eliquis, for preventing blood clots and strokes.
Sales of that drug climbed 12% excluding the impact of foreign currency rates, to $1.79 billion in the quarter.
Pfizer, based in New York, also revised the 2022 earnings forecast it debuted in February to reflect an accounting policy change. It now expects adjusted earnings of $6.25 to $6.45 per share.
That’s down a dime on both ends of the range from its previous forecast for $6.35 to $6.55 per share.
Analysts forecast earnings of $7.14 per share.
The company still expects that 2022 total revenue will range between $98 billion and $102 billion. Analysts forecast total revenue of $105.92 billion.
Shares rose nearly 3% to $49.62 in midday trading Tuesday.
Pfizer’s stock hit an all-time high price of $61.71 on Dec. 20. But that price has fallen 18% so far this year, a steeper drop than the roughly 13% decline of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.