Pfizer’s COVID Product Sales Surpass $50 Billion This Year, Investors Want More | Investment News

By Manas Mishra and Michael Erman

(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it expects sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral pill in 2022 to top $54 billion, but that fell short of lofty estimates for Wall Street and its stocks were down about 3%.

Still, chief executive Albert Bourla said final sales of its COVID-19 oral antiviral, Paxlovid, could be “much larger” than Pfizer had anticipated since its current outlook only included contracts that have been or are about to be signed.

Pfizer currently expects $22 billion in sales of the treatment in 2022, against Wall Street estimates of $22.88 billion.

“Obviously that’s only a fraction of the 120 million treatments that we’re now gearing up to manufacture” this year, Bourla told analysts on a conference call.

The company sells 20 million courses of Paxlovid in the United States at around $530 per course, but Bourla said that was a special price due to the size of the order.

The price for most high-income countries, he said, would be more or less in line with the price of Merck & Co’s rival treatment, molnupiravir, which the US government purchased for around $700 per treatment.

Pfizer executives said the company was in active talks with more than 100 countries about Paxlovid and had the capacity to hedge 120 million courses if needed.

For the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer with Germany’s BioNTech SE, the US drugmaker has warned that final sales for the year may not exceed its current forecast of $32 billion, down 13% compared to 2021 levels.

Last year, the company increased its COVID vaccine sales forecast several times over by signing more supply deals around the world.

Analysts predict sales of $33.79 billion for the vaccine in 2022, according to data from Refinitiv.

Overall, Pfizer expects sales of $98 billion to $102 billion in 2022, also below estimates of $105.48 billion.

“Looking ahead isn’t as good as looking back for Pfizer right now and that’s why (the stock price) is down on a somewhat decent report,” said trader Dennis Dick. owner at Bright Trading LLC.

Going forward, “acquisitions are obviously very much in the cards,” said Aamir Malik, director of business innovation at Pfizer.

Some investors have sought Pfizer to use its huge injection of cash from COVID products on deals to drive future growth.

Pfizer said it has started working on a next-generation version of Paxlovid, which is licensed to treat high-risk COVID-19 patients soon after symptoms appear.

Paxlovid performed significantly better in its clinical trials than Merck’s competitor pill with around 90% versus 30% efficacy.

But Pfizer may still need an upgraded version of Paxlovid, according to Davinderpreet Mangat, principal analyst at Informa Pharma Intelligence.

“The door is still slightly open for COVID antivirals,” Mangat said. “Other companies’ drugs may be able to outperform Paxlovid, the same way Paxlovid outperformed Merck’s drug.”

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Michael Erman in New Jersey; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Bill Berkrot)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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