Pfizer Expects Wave of New Launches

By Austen Hufford Features Dow Jones Newswires

Pfizer Inc. revenue rose in its latest quarter as the drugmaker says it has turned a corner with more product launches expected in the next year combined with fewer drug-exclusivity losses.

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Chief Executive Ian Read said the company is seeing the "beginning of an expected multiyear wave of potential new product launches and product line extensions." Pfizer had posted three consecutive quarters with revenue declines.

Shares of the company rose 0.7% in premarket trading.

Still, the company said it was starting to feel the impact from an upcoming exclusivity expiration for its blockbuster erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra. Sales of the drug fell 20% to $308 million as wholesalers began destocking the drug in advance of anticipated generic competition starting in December.

Pfizer cut its revenue outlook for the year but raised its profit guidance. It now expects full-year revenue between $52.4 billion and $53.1 billion, compared with $52 billion to $54 billion previously. It expects adjusted earnings per share between $2.58 and $2.62, up from an earlier forecast of $2.54 to $2.60.

Pfizer said revenue in its essential health unit, which includes the antidepressant Pristiq and anti-epileptic drug Lyrica, fell 12% in the quarter from a year earlier.

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In February, the company completed the sale of its global infusion therapy assets, known as Hospira Infusion Systems, for about $1 billion. Excluding that impact, revenue in essential health fell 7%.

Lipitor revenue grew 16% to $491 million.

Sales in its innovative health unit rose 11%, driven by growth from drugs including cancer drug Ibrance, which increased 60%, and blood clot treatment Eliquis, which grew 43%.

Pfizer said earlier this month that it was exploring a sale or spinoff of its consumer-health business, which produces Advil, Centrum, Emergen-C and other nonprescription items.

In all for its third quarter, Pfizer reported a profit of $2.84 billion, or 47 cents a share, up from $1.36 billion, or 22 cents a share, a year prior.

On an adjusted basis, earnings were 67 cents a share, up from 61 cents. Revenue grew 0.9% to $13.17 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast adjusted earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $13.17 billion.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com

Pfizer Inc. revenue rose in its latest quarter as the drugmaker says it has turned a corner and expects more product launches in the next several years combined with fewer drug-exclusivity losses.

Chief Executive Ian Read said in an interview Tuesday that the company is developing 15 drugs that could be approved for sale by regulators by 2022 and each could have sales surpassing $1 billion.

Meantime, Pfizer expects about $2 billion in sales losses due to patent expiries and generic competition during each of the next few years, compared with the roughly $5 billion in annual losses the company had been confronting in recent years.

"You get this nice inflection where you have two major positive trends," Chief Financial Officer Frank D'Amelio said in an interview.

Pfizer, based in New York City, had posted three consecutive quarters with revenue declines until the third quarter, when the company said revenues rose 0.9% to $13.17 billion.

Cancer-drug Ibrance and blood-thinner Eliquis notched among the quarter's biggest sales gains, while Pfizer said it had begun to feel the impact from an upcoming exclusivity expiration for male-impotence pill Viagra. Sales of the drug fell 20% to $308 million as wholesalers began destocking the drug in advance of anticipated generic competition starting in December, the company said.

For the period, Pfizer reported net income of $2.84 billion, or 47 cents a share, compared with $1.36 billion or 22 cents a share, a year prior, though Pfizer said much of the favorable impact was due to one-time items like the sale of an infusion-pump business. On an adjusted basis, earnings were 67 cents a share, up from 61 cents.

Shares of the company were slightly down during trading at midday.

Pfizer cut its revenue outlook for the year but raised its profit guidance. It now expects full-year revenue between $52.4 billion and $53.1 billion, compared with $52 billion and $54 billion previously. It expects adjusted earnings per share between $2.58 and $2.62, up from an earlier forecast of $2.54 and $2.60.

In February, the company completed the sale of its global infusion therapy assets, known as Hospira Infusion Systems, for about $1 billion.

Pfizer said earlier this month that it was exploring a sale or spinoff of its consumer-health business, which makes Advil cough and cold medicines, Centrum vitamins and other over-the-counter products. The business had $829 million in third-quarter sales, up 4% from the period a year earlier.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com and Jonathan D. Rockoff at Jonathan.Rockoff@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 31, 2017 13:35 ET (17:35 GMT)