Pfizer’s Covid vaccine posted revenue of $5.36 billion in the quarter, down 53% year-over-year. Analysts had expected the shot to bring in $4.99 billion in sales, according to FactSet estimates.
The results come as Pfizer tries to stem the rapid decline of its Covid business, which saw demand fall to new lows and saw it go commercial in the US last year. As revenue declines, the company is trying to improve its results and boost investor confidence through a $4 billion cost-cutting plan.
Based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly Refinitiv, Pfizer reported for the fourth quarter compared to Wall Street’s expectations:
- Earnings per share: Adjusted to 10 cents per share. A loss of 22 cents is expected
- Income: $14.25 billion vs. $14.42 billion expected
The pharmaceutical giant reiterated its full-year guidance for 2024, which it first announced in mid-December.
Pfizer expects revenue of $58.5 billion to $61.5 billion this year, including about $8 billion in revenue from Covid products and contributions from the recent shutdown of cancer drug maker Seagen.
The company expects to post adjusted earnings of $2.05 to $2.25 per share.
Pfizer posted revenue of $14.25 billion in the fourth quarter, down 41% year-over-year due to lower sales of Covid products.
In the fourth quarter, Pfizer reported a net loss of $3.37 billion, or 60 cents per share. That compares with net income of $4.99 billion, or 87 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Excluding certain items, the company posted earnings of 10 cents per share for the quarter.
Still, Pfizer’s Covid business had a dismal 2023.
Revenue from its Covid vaccine and Paklovid was $12.5 billion in 2023. This is down 78% from the peak of $57 billion in 2022.
Excluding Covid products, Pfizer said revenue for the fourth quarter rose 8% on an operational basis.
The company said the increase was partly supported by its new vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus, which entered the market in the third quarter for the elderly and expectant mothers. The shoot, known as Abrysvo, had sales of $515 million in the fourth quarter.
The company also said it was benefiting from strong sales of its drug Wyndagel, which is used to treat a certain type of cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease. Sales of these drugs increased by 41% from the fourth quarter of 2022 and amounted to 961 million dollars.
Pfizer also said Eliquis, a blood thinner marketed by Bristol Myers Squibb, was contributing to that growth. The drug generated $1.61 billion in revenue in the quarter, up 9% year-over-year. Analysts had expected Eliquis to earn $1.52 billion from the sale, according to FactSet.
A non-Covid product class fared worse than Pfizer had hoped. A group shot to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia brought in $1.60 billion in sales for the fourth quarter. That was down 8% from the same quarter a year ago due to lower demand and what the company called “unfavorable timing of customer orders.” Analysts had expected sales from the group to reach $1.97 billion, according to FactSet.
Wells Fargo analyst Mohit Bansal said disappointing sales for this group of shots, which Pfizer calls the Prevnar family, could be a concern.
Bansal noted that Merck has offered encouraging comments about the prospects for its pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine franchise, so he expects to get questions about how Pfizer plans to defend that part of its business during its fourth-quarter earnings call.
The results cap a difficult year for the company, which once saw revenues rise after introducing the world’s first Covid vaccine.
Pfizer’s shares fell nearly 40% in 2023 as demand for its shot and other Covid products plummeted worldwide, prompting the company to sharply cut its full-year revenue forecast, record multibillion-dollar inventory write-down charges and wide-ranging caused the operation to start. cost reduction program.
Moreover, Pfizer’s future in the booming weight loss drug market began to look bleak last month. The company canceled a twice-daily version of the experimental diet pill after obese patients who took the drug lost significant weight but had trouble tolerating the drug in a mid-stage clinical study.
Investors expect the company to release data on a once-daily form of the drug, danuglipron, in the first half of the year.
Pfizer hopes its $43 billion acquisition of Seagen, which officially closed in the fourth quarter, will restore investor confidence. Last month, the company announced it was doubling down on cancer treatments after revealing plans to create a new oncology unit that would include Seagen in early 2024.
But Wall Street remains skeptical that Pfizer can turn things around: The company’s stock is already down more than 4% for the year, giving it a market value of about $155 billion.
Pfizer will hold an earnings call with investors on Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET.