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Pfizer Q3 Oncology Revenues Jump 12 Percent

NEW YORK – Pfizer on Tuesday reported third quarter revenues more than doubled compared to last year's quarter driven primarily by sales of its COVID-19 vaccine, though oncology drug sales contributed positively to the revenue growth.

The New York-based company reported $24.09 billion in Q3 revenues compared to $10.28 billion in Q3 2020, and beat analysts' average revenue estimate of $22.82 billion.

While a majority of Q3 revenues were from sales of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, the company's oncology unit also saw growth last quarter. The oncology unit as a whole reported a 12 percent revenue increase to $3.09 billion in Q3 2021 compared to $2.76 billion in Q3 2020.

Pfizer's top-selling drug for hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib (Ibrance), contributed $1.38 billion to Q3 revenues, a 2 percent increase from Q3 2020 sales of $1.36 billion. Although US sales of the drug fell 3 percent to $883 million, international sales increased by 11 percent to $498 million during the quarter.

"[International] growth was driven by accelerating demand, as the delays in diagnosis and treatment initiations caused by COVID-19 show signs of recovery across several international markets," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said during a call to discuss the company's financials. "The US decline was driven by an increase in the proportion of patients accessing Ibrance through our patient assistance program."

Sales of the company's first-generation ALK inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori), a treatment for ALK- or ROS1-positive non-small cell lung cancer and ALK-positive pediatric anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, decreased across US and international markets. Overall, crizotinib's global sales fell 5 percent to $116 million in Q3 2021 from $122 million in Q3 20202.

Meanwhile, sales of Pfizer's newer ALK inhibitor for NSCLC, lorlatinib (Lorbrena), grew 22 percent globally last quarter, contributing $67 million to revenues versus $55 million in the year-ago quarter. That growth was largely driven by international sales, which jumped 35 percent to $31 million last quarter compared to $23 million in Q3 2020.

Pfizer's BRAF inhibitor encorafenib (Braftovi) and MEK inhibitor binimetinib (Mektovi) also saw sales growth during Q3. The combination of encorafenib and binimetinib is sold in the US as a treatment for BRAF-mutated melanoma, while encorafenib combined with cetuximab (Lilly's Erbitux) treats BRAF-mutated colorectal cancer. Sales of encorafenib were $47 million during the quarter compared to $42 million last year, a 13 percent jump. Binimetinib sales increased 21 percent from $34 million in Q3 2020 to $41 million in the past quarter.

Last quarter, Pfizer said it would acquire clinical stage oncology company Trillium Therapeutics for $2.26 billion. Pfizer is particularly interested in Trillium's CD47 blocking agents, which are being studied in biomarker-defined blood cancer patients, said Pfizer CSO Mikael Dolsten during the call. That deal is expected to close in Q4 or the first half of 2022.

Going into 2022, Pfizer expects pivotal data readouts from several precision oncology trials, including from a Phase II study of encorafenib and binimetinib in BRAF V600E-mutant NSCLC and a Phase II trial of its BCMA CD3-targeted bispecific antibody elranatamab in multiple myeloma.

Pfizer's net income in Q3 2021 was $8.15 billion, or $1.42 per share, compared to $1.47 billion in Q3 2020, or $.26 per share. On an adjusted basis, the company reported EPS of $1.34, beating the consensus Wall Street EPS estimate of $1.09.

In Q3, Pfizer's R&D expenses increased 50 percent to $3.45 billion from $2.3 billion in Q3 2020. The company also spent $2.91 billion on selling, informational, and administrative expenses, a 9 percent increase from $2.66 billion spent in Q3 2020.

Pfizer also updated its annual guidance for revenues and adjusted EPS for 2021. It now expects between $81 billion and $82 billion in revenues this year instead of its previously projected revenue range of between $78 billion and $80 billion. It is estimating adjusted EPS in the range of $4.13 and $4.18, up from previous projections of between $3.95 and $4.05.