Vaccines push Pfizer beyond expectations in final quarter

Associated Press

COVID-19 vaccine sales boosted Pfizer earnings well past analyst expectations in the final quarter of 2021, but the drugmaker is setting a lower-than-expected bar for 2022.

Pfizer said Tuesday that it expects adjusted earnings in the new year to range from $6.35 to $6.55 per share on $98 billion to $102 billion in revenue.

Industry analysts were expecting earnings of $6.71 per share on $103.18 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Pfizer shares started sliding in early trading.

In the fourth quarter, Pfizer said its two-shot coronavirus vaccine, Comirnaty, brought in more than $12.5 billion in revenue, which helped the company's total top line double compared to the last quarter of 2020.

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.

Late in the fourth quarter, Pfizer also debuted Paxlovid, the first pill treatment to fight COVID-19. The new drug only generated $76 million in U.S. sales after receiving regulatory approval shortly before Christmas.

But analysts and Pfizer expect it to bring in about $22 billion in sales this year, according to FactSet.

Outside Comirnaty and Paxlovid, Pfizer products include several cancer treatments, other vaccines and internal medicine drugs like Eliquis, for preventing blood clots and strokes.

Overall, Pfizer reported adjusted earnings of $1.08 for the fourth quarter on $23.84 billion in revenue.

Analysts expected earnings of 87 cents per share on $24.16 billion in sales for the fourth quarter.