Pfizer tops forecasts as total Covid vaccine sales soar

US pharmaceutical firm 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 America.

oaring international sales of the vaccine helped push total Comirnaty revenue close to 13 billion US dollars (£9.5 billion) in the quarter, and the company said it now expected to book about 36 billion US dollars (£26 billion) in sales from the vaccine this year.

This is up from a second-quarter forecast for 33.5 billion US dollars (£24.5 billion) and more than twice what Pfizer expected at the start of the year, shortly after distribution of the doses began.

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

In the US, third-quarter sales of the vaccine fell to 1.59 billion US dollars (£1.16 billion) from a little over 2 billion US dollars (£1.46 billion) the previous quarter.

Analysts expected this, as demand fell following the rush to get doses 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 expansion of the vaccine for use in children.

Late last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared child-size doses of Pfizer’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine — just a third of the amount given to teenagers and adults — for emergency use.

Up to 28 million more American children could become eligible for the vaccinations later this week.

Pfizer’s vaccine is the first cleared by the FDA for use in children.

The US government has already purchased 115 million paediatric doses of the jab, or enough to vaccinate every American child, Pfizer chairman and chief executive Albert Bourla said in a statement posted on the company’s website.


A Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine being prepared (Nick Potts/PA)

Outside Comirnaty, Pfizer products include several cancer treatments, other vaccines and internal medicine drugs like Eliquis, for preventing blood clots and strokes.

Overall, Covid-19 vaccine sales to emerging markets appeared to be the main factor behind Pfizer’s better-than-expected performance in the quarter, Mizuho Securities USA analyst Dr Vamil Divan said.

He added that the rest of the business performed close to expectations.

Pfizer earned a total of 8.15 billion US dollars (£5.97 billion) in the third quarter, or more than five times what it earned in last year’s third quarter before its Covid-19 vaccine was approved by regulators.

Adjusted results in the latest quarter totalled 1.34 US dollars (98p) per share.

The company’s total revenue more than doubled to 24.09 billion US dollars (£17.64 billion).


A phial of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (PA)

Analysts expected, on average, third-quarter earnings of 1.08 US dollars (79p) per share from Pfizer on about 22.58 billion US dollars (£16.54 billion) in revenue, according to FactSet.

New York-based Pfizer now expects 2021 adjusted earnings of 4.13 US dollars (£3.02) to 4.18 US dollars (£3.06) per share on revenue ranging from 81 billion US dollars (£59 billion) to 82 billion US dollars (£60 billion).

For 2021, analysts forecast earnings of 4.04 US dollars (£2.95) per share on 78.77 billion US dollars (£57.70 billion) in revenue.

Shares of Pfizer climbed nearly 3% to 44.82 US dollars (£32.83) in early-morning trading before markets opened.

In August, the stock had topped a previous all-time high price of 47.40 US dollars (£34.72), a mark that stood for 22 years.

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