Pfizer beats third-quarter expectations despite COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty sales slipping

The number is more than twice of what Pfizer expected at the start of the year

Pfizer beat third-quarter expectations and raised its 2021 forecast again even as sales of its top product, the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty, slipped in the U.S. 

Soaring international sales of the preventive shots helped pushed total Comirnaty revenue close to $13 billion in the quarter, and the drugmaker said Tuesday that it now expects to book about $36 billion in sales from the vaccine this year. 

That’s up from a second-quarter forecast for $33.5 billion and more than twice what Pfizer expected at the start of the year. 

A health worker in the UK prepares to administer a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center. The Pfizer company exceeded third-quarter expectations. (Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Pfizer shares profits from the vaccine and costs to make and distribute it with German development partner BioNTech. 

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In the U.S., third-quarter sales of the vaccine fell to $1.59 billion from a little over $2 billion the previous quarter. 

Analysts expected that, as demand fell following the rush to get shots shortly after vaccine eligibility expanded in the spring. But demand appears to be picking up again and will be helped by booster shots and an expected authorization for the vaccine in children, Mizuho Securities USA analyst Dr. Vamil Divan said in a recent note. 

Late last week, the Food and Drug Administration cleared kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine — just a third of the amount given to teens and adults — for emergency use. Up to 28 million more American children could become eligible for vaccinations later this week. 

Overall, Pfizer earned $8.15 billion in the third quarter, with adjusted results totaling $1.34 per share. The company’s total revenue more than doubled to $24.09 billion. 

Analysts expected, on average, third-quarter earnings of $1.08 per share from Pfizer on about $22.58 billion in revenue, according to FactSet. 

Operational revenue 7% in the third quarter not counting the COIVD-19 vaccine. 

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The Pfizer Inc. logo on the lab coat of an employee at the company's research and development facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in October 2015.  ( Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Pfizer’s product portfolio also includes several cancer treatments, other vaccines and internal medicine drugs like Eliquis, for preventing blood clots and strokes. Sales of that drug climbed 21% in the quarter to $1.35 billion. 

New York-based Pfizer Inc. now expects 2021 adjusted earnings of $4.13 to $4.18 per share on revenue ranging from $81 billion to $82 billion. 

For 2021, analysts forecast earnings of $4.04 per share on $78.77 billion in revenue. 

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Shares of Pfizer climbed 4% to $45.34 in early-morning trading before markets opened. 

In August, the stock had topped a previous all-time high price of $47.40, a mark that stood for 22 years.