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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Pfizer vaccine brought in more than $13B in sales

COVID-19 vaccine and treatment sales helped Pfizer breeze past Wall Street’s first-quarter expectations, as the drugmaker’s profit grew 61%.

The coronavirus vaccine Comirnaty brought in more than $13 billion in sales in the quarter, and the company is still trying to expand the market for the preventive shots.

Pfizer leaders said Tuesday they expect to submit to regulators by early June data on the effectiveness of a smaller, three-shot combination of their vaccine in children under age 5.

Currently, only children ages 5 or older can be vaccinated in the U.S. with Pfizer’s vaccine.

The pill treatment Paxlovid, which launched late last year, added another $1.5 billion in the first quarter.

All that helped company revenue swell 77%, compared to last year’s quarter, when vaccine sales were still ramping up.

Overall, Pfizer on Tuesday posted net income of $7.86 billion and adjusted earnings of $1.62 per share in the first quarter.

That easily topped the $1.49 per share projected by industry analysts, according to a survey by FactSet.

Revenue was $25.66 billion, also beating Wall Street expectations for $24.1 billion.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine launched in late 2020 and became the drugmaker’s top selling product by last year’s second quarter.

Pfizer books the vast majority of revenue from Comirnaty and splits profit, as well as the cost to make and distribute the vaccine, with development partner BioNTech.

Sales of that vaccine topped analyst expectations for the quarter, but revenue from Paxlovid fell short.

Pfizer said it still expects Comirnaty to bring in about $32 billion in sales this year, with Paxlovid recording around $22 billion.

President Joe Biden’s administration is pushing to expand access to Paxlovid, and sales are expected to pick up later this year.

“We are seeing strong sings for increasing demand for Paxlovid,” Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla told analysts Tuesday.

He added that Pfizer booked only a small portion of revenue in the first quarter from the roughly 6 million doses it has shipped so far. He noted that international sales will be booked in the second quarter.

Revenue from both products will likely wind up exceeding forecasts, Mizuho Securities USA analyst Dr. Vamil Divan said in a research note.

He noted that current projections only include contracts the company signed as of mid April.

Pfizer Inc., based in New York, also revised the 2022 earnings forecast it debuted in February to reflect an accounting policy change. It now expects adjusted earnings of $6.25 to $6.45 per share.

Biogen replacing CEO after Alzheimer’s drug backlash

Biogen will replace its CEO and largely abandon marketing of its controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm less than a year after the medication’s launch triggered a backlash from experts, doctors and insurers.

CEO Michel Vounatsos will continue to lead the Biogen until a successor is found, the company announced Tuesday. Vounatsos joined the company in 2016 and was the chief architect of Biogen’s strategy built around Aduhelm.

For now, Biogen said it is “substantially eliminating” spending on Aduhelm as part of a $1 billion dollar cost-saving plan designed to refocus the company’s flagging biotech business.

The announcement represents a stark acknowledgment that the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company has failed to find a market for a drug that was expected to drive its business for years to come.

Aduhelm was the first new Alzheimer’s drug introduction in nearly two decades. Initially priced at $56,000 a year, analysts predicted it would quickly become a blockbuster drug that would generate billions for Biogen.

But doctors have been hesitant to prescribe it, given weak evidence that the drug slows the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Insurers have blocked or restricted coverage over the drug’s high price tag and uncertain benefit.

Even the company’s decision to slash the drug’s price in half – to $28,000 a year – did little to improve uptake.

The biggest setback came last month when the federal government’s Medicare health plan imposed strict limits on who can get the drug, wiping out most of its potential U.S. market.

From wire reports