Shares of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) gained nearly 2% on Tuesday after the company delivered better-than-expected results for the first quarter of 2022. Revenue and earnings surpassed estimates but the company revised its earnings guidance for the full year. The stock has gained 23% over the past 12 months.
In Q1, Pfizer’s total revenues increased 77% year-over-year to $25.7 billion, beating expectations. Operational growth was 82%, driven mainly by the sales of its COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty and its oral anti-viral treatment Paxlovid. Adjusted EPS increased 72% to $1.62, surpassing projections.
Pfizer’s COVID vaccine Comirnaty generated sales of $13.2 billion in Q1 while its anti-viral treatment Paxlovid contributed $1.5 billion in global sales. To date, Pfizer has shipped nearly 3.4 billion doses of Comirnaty to 179 countries. The company has received approvals for its 12-15 year old booster dose in the US and Europe and it has authorizations for the 5-11 age group in 44 other markets worldwide.
On its quarterly conference call, Pfizer said its market research indicated that more than 96% of healthcare providers in key markets continue to recommend a booster to their patients. The company has seen an increase in the uptake of a third dose in several developed markets and it remains optimistic about the potential uptake of a fourth dose.
For its oral anti-viral treatment Paxlovid, Pfizer has shipped approx. 8 million treatment courses to date. The company has ramped up its manufacturing and remains on track to produce 24 million courses in the second quarter for a total of 30 million in the first half of the year. Pfizer aims to produce 120 million courses for the full year.
In the US, Paxlovid’s utilization has grown nearly ten-fold over the past couple of weeks, with the treatment being administered to over 79,000 patients as of the end of the third week of April. The number of sites that supply Paxlovid has increased over four-fold since mid-February, giving patients easier access. Pfizer expects it will see an increase in orders over the coming months due to virus mutations and spikes in infections across the world.
In March, Pfizer announced positive results from the Phase 3 study of etrasimod for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC). The company is projecting a filing in the latter half of 2022 and believes this candidate has potential beyond UC. It is evaluating its efficacy for conditions such as Crohn’s disease and atopic dermatitis.
The company is also evaluating the efficacy of ritlecitinib for conditions such as alopecia, vitiligo, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Pfizer has agreed to acquire ReViral and its Respiratory Syncytial Virus therapeutic candidates and this deal is expected to strengthen its capabilities in infectious diseases research and development.
For the full year of 2022, Pfizer expects total revenue to range between $98-102 billion, reflecting an operational growth of 27% at the midpoint. Comirnaty revenues are estimated to be approx. $32 billion while revenues from Paxlovid are expected to be approx. $22 billion. Excluding revenues from the COVID-19 products, sales are estimated to be approx. $46 billion at the midpoint, reflecting operational growth of 5%.
Pfizer revised its adjusted EPS guidance for 2022 to a range of $6.25-6.45 from the previous range of $6.35-6.55 to reflect R&D costs and foreign exchange impacts.
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