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Pfizer Nearly Doubles Q2 Revenues

NEW YORK – Pfizer on Wednesday reported a 92 percent increase in second quarter 2021 revenues largely driven by sales of its COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer reported $18.98 billion in revenues for the three months ending June 30 compared to $9.86 billion in Q2 2020. The revenue surpassed analysts' consensus estimate of $18.45 billion.

While much of the growth was attributed to sales of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, its oncology unit also grew sales 19 percent in Q2 to $3.15 billion compared to $2.65 billion in the year-ago period. Pfizer's CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib (Ibrance), a treatment for hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, remained its biggest earner with $1.4 billion in worldwide sales, a 4 percent increase from $1.35 billion in Q2 2020.

In the US, however, palbociclib sales dropped 7 percent to $862 million in Q2 this year compared to $927 million in the year-ago quarter. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said during an earnings call on Wednesday that while prescription volume was stable in the US, the revenue decline was due to more patients enrolling in the financial assistance program for the drug and fewer new patients starting palbociclib treatment.

"The … more prominent [reason for the decline] this quarter, is the [patient assistance program]," Angela Hwang, group president of Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group, said in the earnings call. "What you're seeing here is very consistent with what we're seeing in the environment generally as it pertains to economic hardship. The Ibrance patient is in a younger population, and because they're on commercial insurance, their economic status is very much aligned to employment."

Sales of Pfizer's first-generation ALK-targeted non-small cell lung cancer drug crizotinib (Xalkori) fell 13 percent in Q2 2021 to $120 million compared to $138 million in Q2 2020. Its other ALK inhibitor lorlatinib (Lorbrena) saw a 44 percent increase year over year from $46 million in Q2 2020 to $66 million in Q2 2021, following its approval in the US as a first-line option for metastatic NSCLC patients with ALK rearrangements. The drug had previously only been available for advanced NSCLC patients who had received prior treatment.

Pfizer's BRAF and MEK inhibitor combo encorafenib (Braftovi) and binimetinib (Mektovi) saw sales of $42 million and $36 million in Q2 2021 — a 16 percent and 12 percent increase, respectively — from $36 million and $32 million in Q2 2020 revenues.

The New York-based company reported net income of $5.56 billion, or $.98 per share, in Q2 2021, compared to a net income of $3.49 billion, or $.62 per share, in the year-ago quarter. On an adjusted basis, Pfizer reported EPS of $1.07, beating the Wall Street average estimate of $.96.

In the second quarter, the company's R&D spending increased 18 percent to $2.46 billion from $2.08 billion the prior year. Its selling, informational, and administrative expenses also grew by 10 percent to $2.93 billion in Q2 2021 compared to $2.66 billion in Q2 2020.

This month, Pfizer announced a global collaboration with Arvinas to develop and commercialize its estrogen receptor protein degrader, ARV-471. The drug is currently being studied in breast cancer, and Pfizer is also investigating its activity in combination with CDK4/6 inhibitors like palbociclib, according to Pfizer CSO Mikael Dolsten.

Pfizer raised its full-year 2021 revenue guidance to between $78 billion and $80 billion and said it is now expecting adjusted diluted EPS in the range of $3.95 to $4.05, largely due to the positive impact from COVID-19 vaccines. In May, the company had said it was expecting annual revenues of between $70.5 billion and $72.5 billion and adjusted diluted EPS in the range of $3.55 and $3.65.