Following Reorganization, Pfizer Posts Growth in First Quarter

Pfizer word on side of large building

Pfizer closed out the first quarter of 2019 with revenues of $13.1 billion driven by a significant 36 percent global growth of Eliquis sales, a 34 percent increase in Xeljanz revenue and a 25 percent increase in sales of Ibrance, the company announced this morning.

For Pfizer, the positive growth comes in the first full quarter after the company reorganized into three separate business units that include an established medicines business, a consumer healthcare business and the innovative medicines business. As a result of the reorganization, the company anticipates mid-single-digit operational revenue growth from through 2025.

While Pfizer saw a 2 percent growth in its quarterly revenues compared to last year, the company said there were some declines, particularly in the hospital business and rare disease treatments. Pfizer said it saw an 8 percent decline in the hospital setting, which was driven primarily from generic competition for drugs that have lost market exclusivity. In the rare disease area, the company also saw declines, particularly in hemophilia. Pfizer said that was driven by competition in the space, as well as an “unfavorable channel mix” with Genotropin.

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Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla touted the continued growth of its branded drugs, including Eliquis, Ibrance, Prevnar 13/Prevenar 13 and Xeljanz.

“Our new commercial structure is designed to maximize today’s revenue growth opportunities while transitioning the company to a period post-2020 where we expect sustained mid-single-digit operational revenue growth through 2025. We remain focused on executing on our commercial strategies, managing expenses, advancing our pipeline and prudently allocating our capital to position Pfizer for sustainable success,” Bourla said in a statement.

Bourla pointed to several positive pipeline updates that indicate positive growth for the long term. In the first months of 2019, he said, Pfizer won five regulatory approvals, including approval of Ibrance as a treatment for men with a type of breast cancer. Bourla said the company also presented phase III data for Xtandi in metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer as well as Phase II immunogenicity data in adults for our 20-valent pneumococcal vaccine candidate. As he eyes the remainder of the year, Bourla said the company is looking for potential approvals of other drugs in the U.S., including tafamidis in transthyretin cardiomyopathy, a Bavencio-Inlyta combination for the treatment of first-line renal cell carcinoma, as well as the company’s biosimilar rituximab, bevacizumab and adalimumab molecules.

“We also expect Phase 3 read outs in 2019 for PF-04965842, our Janus kinase-1 (JAK1) inhibitor in development for moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, and rivipansel, in development for vaso-occlusive crisis from sickle cell disease. I believe our pipeline today represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver a life-changing impact for millions of patients while enhancing value for all of our stakeholders,” Bourla said.

Other highlights of the quarter for Pfizer include the acquisition of a 15 percent equity stake in Vivet Therapeutics, a privately held gene therapy company focused on inherited liver disorders. Pfizer and Vivet will collaborate on the development of VTX-801, Vivet’s proprietary treatment candidate for Wilson disease.

There were some setbacks for Pfizer during the quarter. Pfizer and its development partner Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany discontinued a Phase III ovarian cancer drug trial due to several emerging factors including determining that the degree of benefit observed in the previously announced interim analysis of the JAVELIN 100 Ovarian study does not support the continuation of the trial.

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