Pfizer ups guidance as it prepares to sell off generics division

Pfizer has cautiously upped its guidance despite second quarter figures showing a slip in sales and profitability compared with the same period last year.

Revenues for Q2 were $11.8 billion, down 11% compared with the corresponding period in 2019, and adjusted income fell 3% to $4.4 billion.

However Pfizer has lost a chunk of sales since spinning off its Consumer Healthcare division into a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline last year.

The consumer division generated revenues of $862 million in last year’s Q2, and the company’s biopharmaceutical division reported a sales increase of 6% to just under $9.8 billion.

Pfizer’s generics division, known as Upjohn and containing the company’s off-patent drugs, also saw sales fall by 32% to just over $2 billion.

But UpJohn is also due to merge with Mylan, pending approval by US antitrust regulators, into a new company known as Viatris.

With that merger likely to go ahead in the second half of this year after backing from Mylan’s shareholders, Pfizer’s figures show the underlying performance of the company’s branded drugs business is strong.

Pfizer added that the groundwork is continuing to prepare for the merger – Upjohn began managing Pfizer’s Meridian subsidiary, the manufacturer of EpiPen and other auto-injector products under a pre-existing strategic collaboration with Mylan.

In the meantime Pfizer is scaling up manufacturing at risk to supply a potential novel treatment or vaccine for COVID-19.

The company this week announced the candidate it has chosen for a phase 3 trial with BioNTech and has begun recruiting the first patients.

Pfizer had briefly paused recruitment to ongoing clinical studies and delayed new study starts in late April as it focused on COVID-19 related research.

But it has restarted recruitment across its portfolio and is working with sites and performing remote monitoring where appropriate to oversee studies.

It is using telehealth and home healthcare where appropriate to support research.

Pfizer raised the mid-point of its revenue guidance for 2020 by $0.1 billion – the range is now $48.6 to $50.6 billion.

It raised its earnings per share forecast by $0.03 to $2.85 to $2.95.

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