Pfizer sales fall as drugmaker races toward COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer agreed last year to spin off Upjohn, its off-patent drug business, merging it with U.K.-based Mylan N.V.

Pfizer Inc. reported growth in its biopharma division in the latest quarter, but overall sales fell amid increased competition in its generic-drug business.

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The New York City-based pharmaceutical company reported revenue of $11.8 billion, an 11% decline from $13.3 billion a year earlier. Analysts' consensus had forecast sales of $11.58 billion, according to FactSet.

Sales grew for Pfizer's biopharma division, which focuses on new drugs. Biopharma revenue rose 4% to $9.8 billion, up from $9.43 billion a year earlier.

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PFEPFIZER INC.36.05+0.29+0.81%
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But the company's overall sales trend was pulled down by declining sales at Upjohn, Pfizer's off-patent drug division. Upjohn sales declined 32% year over year to $2.01 billion. Pfizer cited the loss of its exclusive U.S. rights to Lyrica, a medication for nerve pain, as a contributor to the decline.

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Pfizer agreed last year to spin Upjohn off, merging it with U.K.-based Mylan N.V. That transaction should close in the fourth quarter, Chairman and Chief Executive Albert Bourla said.

Pfizer said that the coronavirus pandemic has had little impact on its manufacturing and that clinical trials resumed in mid-April after a brief pause caused by the public-health crisis. Pfizer estimated that the pandemic brought down second-quarter revenue by approximately 4%, in part due to disruptions to wellness visits for adults and children.

Pfizer's quarterly profit was 61 cents a share, or 78 cents a share on an adjusted basis, the company said. Analysts had forecast an adjusted profit of 67 cents a share.

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The company's candidate vaccine to protect against Covid-19, which it is developing with BioNTech, began Phase 3 testing this week. Last week, the U.S. agreed to pay the companies $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of the vaccine. Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson are among the other American companies racing to roll out a successful vaccine for the disease, which continues to spread in the U.S.

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Pfizer also gave a slight boost to its full-year earnings guidance for the company as it will exist after the Upjohn transaction, raising its projected sales range to $40.8 billion to $42.4 billion. Previously, Pfizer had guided for yearly revenue of $40.7 billion to $42.3 billion. The guidance doesn't account for future Covid-19 vaccine sales.