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Pfizer Stock Drops After Earnings. Guidance Fell Short of Estimates.

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Pfizer expects record revenue in 2022.
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Pfizer now expects approximately $55 billion in combined revenues for its Covid-19 vaccine and antiviral in 2022, and what would be a record high overall revenue of between $98 billion and $102 billion.

Pfizer (ticker: PFE) reported full-year 2021 revenue of $81.3 billion early Tuesday, roughly in line with the FactSet consensus estimate of $81.8 billion, and full-year adjusted diluted earnings of $4.42 per share, above the FactSet consensus estimate of $4.41 per share.

In 2021, sales of the firm’s Covid vaccine, called Comirnaty, were $36.8 billion. Sales of the company’s antiviral, Paxlovid, which received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in late December, were $76 million.

Pfizer’s 2022 revenue guidance range was slightly below the FactSet consensus estimate of $103.2 billion. Pfizer expects $32 billion in revenue from Comirnaty, below the FactSet consensus estimate of $34.8 billion, and $22 billion in revenue for Paxlovid, in line with the $22 billion FactSet consensus estimate.

The company said it expects adjusted diluted earnings of between $6.35 and $6.55 per share in 2022, below the FactSet consensus estimate of $6.71.

Shares of Pfizer were down 4% in premarket trading.

“Our successes in leading the fight against COVID-19 have not only made a positive difference in the world; I believe they have fundamentally changed our company and our culture forever,” the company’s CEO, Dr. Albert Bourla, said in prepared remarks distributed ahead of the company’s investor call to discuss the earnings results.

Pfizer revenue for the fourth quarter was $23.8 billion, up 105% from the same quarter in 2020. Aside from Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, the growth was driven in part by sales of the anticoagulant Eliquis, up 19% compared to 2020, and sales of the cardiomyopathy treatment Vyndaqel, up 34%.

Sales of the company’s blockbuster pneumococcal vaccines, Prevnar 13 and Prevnar 20, were down 25% to $1.3 billion globally in the fourth quarter, a drop the company attributed to unfavorable timing of government purchases in the U.S.

In slides set to be presented during the company’s earnings, Pfizer said the company believes coronavirus is “unlikely to be eradicated.” It said it expects to be able to manufacture 30 million doses of its antiviral in the first half of 2022 and 90 million doses in the second half.

As the company has previously announced, it is testing an Omicron-specific version of its vaccine, and a version that would target two strains.

The company’s chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten, said that Pfizer is planning to start human trials for an improved version of its antiviral in the second half of 2022.

Dolsten also announced new data from a Phase 2 study of the Lyme disease vaccine that the company is developing with the French biotech Valneva (VALN), which Barron’s discussed in an October feature.

“We saw substantial boost antibody response in Phase 2 to all six serotypes present in North America and Europe following the three-dose primary series vaccination schedule, with a 14- to 31-fold rise in season one and a 51- to 69-fold rise in season two,” Dolsten said. “The vaccine candidate was generally well tolerated at all dose levels tested, and we are excited about further development and the potential to help prevent this debilitating disease.”

In a note published early Tuesday, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Lousie Chen wrote that fourth-quarter results were mixed, but guidance was robust.

Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at josh.nathan-kazis@barrons.com

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