Pfizer Continues COVID Cliff in Q3 with First Quarterly Loss Since 2019

Pictured: Entrance to Pfizer's office in New York/iStock, JHVEPhoto

Pictured: Entrance to Pfizer's office in New York/iStock, JHVEPhoto

Pfizer reported third-quarter financial results Tuesday, pulling in $13.2 billion in revenues, a 42% drop compared to the prior-year period and the first quarterly loss since 2019.

Third-quarter revenues for antiviral treatment Paxlovid dropped 97% operationally compared with the prior-year period, while COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty revenues declined 70% in the quarter.

However, Pfizer’s non-COVID products grew 10% operationally. Sales of its other vaccines, such as Prevnar 13 and 20 for pneumococcal conjugate vaccination, brought in over $1.8 billion in the third quarter while its RSV vaccine Abrysvo pulled in $375 million.

“We are encouraged by the strong performance of Pfizer’s non-COVID products in the third quarter of 2023, including significant contributions from new launches and robust year-over-year growth for several key in-line brands,” CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.  

Pfizer CFO David Denton noted in the release that new product launches will meet the company’s non-COVID growth target of 6% to 8% for the full year, as it makes some changes to bring in cash. Earlier this month, the company announced a cost-cutting initiative—which includes layoffs—as the company looks to generate around $3.5 billion in savings.

Pfizer’s cost-cutting actions include the closing of a facility in Peapack, New Jersey—which will go into effect in early 2024—a company spokesperson told BioSpace, adding that “a vast majority” of employees will be shifted to other facilities. The Triad Business Journal reported last week that two Pfizer manufacturing locations in Durham and Morrisville, North Carolina, will be closing. Fierce Pharma also noted layoffs occurring in Colorado in early October.  

Pfizer and BioNTech are still focused on mRNA-based vaccines, presenting data last week from a Phase I/II trial for a combination vaccine for both the flu and COVID-19. While Pfizer gave no specific numbers, the trial had shown that the combination vaccine has a “safety profile consistent with the safety profile of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine and reached Geometric Mean Titer (GMT) ratios needed for regulatory approval.

A Phase III trial for the vaccine will begin “in the coming months” but Pfizer gave no exact start date.

“We are encouraged by these early results in our Phase I/II study of our combination vaccine candidates against influenza and COVID-19,” Annaliesa Anderson, senior vice president and head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said in a statement. “This vaccine has the potential to lessen the impact of two respiratory diseases with a single injection and may simplify immunization practices for providers, patients, and healthcare systems all over the world.”

Bourla also noted that the $43 billion acquisition of Seagen is moving ahead, as the deal received antitrust clearance from the European Commission earlier this month. He said it’s a regulatory decision that “confirms our view that the transaction is pro-competitive, reflective of our complementary portfolios and good for patients.”

The Federal Trade Commission in July 2023 requested additional information on the Seagen buyout as part of the agency’s review of the acquisition.

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at Follow him on LinkedIn.

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