Pfizer raises forecast as cancer, blood thinner drugs cushion COVID-19 blow

(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) beat analysts’ estimates for second-quarter profit on Tuesday and raised its full-year earnings forecast, as demand for cancer drug Ibrance and blood thinner Eliquis offset lower uptake of other treatments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said it had taken a roughly $500 million hit to sales due to a drop in visits to hospital or the doctor’s office globally due to the health crisis.

Pfizer raised its forecast for 2020 adjusted profit to between $2.28 and $2.38 per share, however, from a prior estimate of between $2.25 and $2.35, and said it assumed vaccination rates and patient visits would start to revive in the third quarter.

The company’s shares rose 3% to $38.69 before the opening bell.

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE (22UAy.F) said on Monday they were beginning testing of their coronavirus vaccine candidate in a large global study.

The U.S. drugmaker, however, said its 2020 forecast did not include any revenue from the vaccine and, like other pharmaceutical companies, it is contending with the disruption to some non-urgent medical procedures brought on by the pandemic.

Sales of pneumonia vaccine Prevnar 13 dropped about 5% to $1.12 billion as visits fell, while overall net income tumbled 32% to $3.43 billion in the second quarter.

Sales of Ibrance, by contrast, rose 7% to $1.35 billion, while sales of Eliquis, which the company shares with Bristol Myers (BMY.N), rose 17% to $1.27 billion.

Excluding items, Pfizer earned 78 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 66 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Sales fell 11% to $11.80 billion, but beat analysts’ estimates of $11.55 billion.

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