Pfizer said Tuesday it expects to sell about $15 billion in coronavirus vaccine doses this year and to net a profit in the high 20% range of revenue for the inoculations.
In releasing its fourth-quarter earnings, Pfizer also forecast revenue this year will be between $59.4 billion and $61.4 billion and said it expects an adjusted pretax profit in the high 20% range of revenue for the vaccine.
The company also raised its full-year earnings guidance to between $3.10 to $3.20 from $3 to $ 3.10, citing “additional refinements” of its vaccine revenue forecast.
Here’s how Pfizer performed in the fourth quarter compared with what Wall Street expected, according to average estimates compiled by Refinitiv.
- Adjusted EPS: 42 cents vs 48 cents expected.
- Revenue: $11.68 billion vs $11.43 billion expected.
Revenue rose 12% to $11.68 billion from $10.44 billion during the same quarter last year — better than analysts expected.
Shares of Pfizer were down 2.8% in midday trading.
“As a company, we saw the culmination of Pfizer’s decade-long conversion into a pure-play, science and innovation-focused company,” CEO Albert Bourla said in a press release. “Right away, our ability to move quickly and utilize cutting-edge science to help address the world’s most important medical challenges was put to the test by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The company’s Covid-19 vaccine, which it’s making with German partner BioNTech, was the first approved for emergency use in the U.S.
Pfizer, like other Covid vaccine makers, has been struggling to meet the demand for shots that hopefully will help bring an end to the pandemic. It recently enlisted the help of French drugmaker Sanofi to help produce doses.
In slides published ahead of the earnings call, Pfizer said it plans to deliver 200 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. by May, earlier than its initial forecast of July.
The company also said it can potentially deliver 2 billion doses globally by the end of this year now that health-care providers can extract an additional sixth dose of the vaccine from the vials. In December, the Food and Drug Administration said extra doses from vials can be used after doses were being thrown away due to labeling confusion.
The company also said Tuesday it is “prepared to respond” if a Covid variant demonstrates evidence of evading its vaccine. In recent weeks, U.S. health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said they are concerned that vaccines currently on the market may not be as effective in guarding against new, more contagious strains of the virus.
Novavax said Thursday its vaccine was only 49% effective against B.1.351, the highly contagious strain found in South Africa. Johnson & Johnson also said its vaccine was less potent against the strain, saying on Friday its one-shot vaccine was 66% effective overall but just 57% effective against the strain in South Africa.
A study conducted by Pfizer found that the new, highly contagious strains found in the U.K. and South Africa had only a small impact on the effectiveness of its vaccine. Still, Pfizer is developing a booster shot to help protect against the new variants. Moderna and Novavax are also developing modified vaccines.
In the slides, Pfizer said patients will “likely need to boost regularly to maintain immune response and to counter emerging variant strains.”