Amgen was up slightly in earnings during the third quarter and Pfizer was way, way down.
Here are highlights of both pharma companies’ earnings reports, released Tuesday morning.
Hawk, the spike-haired guy in those Tezspire commercials, seems to be doing a good job of hawking, as Amgen on Tuesday reported third-quarter sales of $161 million for the severe asthma medication co-developed with AstraZeneca, an increase of 21% year-over-year.
Tezspire was one of the standout performers for Amgen in a quarter that saw the company’s total revenues increase 4% to $6.9 billion.
Not doing so well was plaque psoriasis treatment Otezla, whose sales decreased 10% YoY to $567 million. Amgen blamed that performance largely on free offers from new competitors like Bristol-Myers Squibb’s heavily advertised Sotyku.
Otezla, though, is already seeing positive results from its own “increased investment” in educating both consumers and healthcare professionals (HCPs) about the product’s benefits, Murdo Gordon, executive vice president, global commercial operations, told analysts on Tuesday’s earnings call.
That investment, which included this Q3 commercial, has already resulted in “significant growth in the number of patients requesting educational information and taking action on the Otezla website,” Gordon said.
Early in October, Amgen completed its massive $27.8 billion acquisition of rare disease specialist Horizon Therapeutics, so no financials for Horizon products were included in the July to September results.
But Vikram Karnani, Amgen’s president, global commercial and medical affairs, revealed to the analysts that Horizon had $945 million in sales during the quarter, up 2% YoY.
Horizon’s top product would be thyroid eye disease med Tepezza, which has recently run this TV spot. Tepezza in the third quarter generated $453 million in sales, also up 2% YoY, Karnani said. The number of HCPs prescribing Tepezza grew 50% YoY, he added.
Blame it on COVID.
Pfizer reported its first quarterly loss since 2019, with revenues down 41% Y0Y to $13.2 billion. Without Comirnaty, its COVID vaccine, and Paxlovid, its COVID antiviral, revenues actually rose 10%, the company stressed.
The Cormirnaty and Paxlovid declines were even steeper than Pfizer had been expecting.
Vaccine revenues declined $3.1 billion YoY, down 70%.
Paxlovid revenues dropped $7.3 billion, down 97%.
Pfizer now expects full-year 2023 Comirnaty revenues of approximately $11.5 billion, down 70% from 2022, and Paxlovid revenues of $1 billion, down 95%.
But Pfizer remains upbeat about vaccines in general.
Its new respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine, Abrysvo, contributed $375 million in U.S. revenues during the quarter, Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive officer, told analysts. And sales of Pfizer’s Prevnar pneumonia vaccines rose 15%.
In addition to the FDA’s recent approval of Penbraya, a vaccine for meningococcal disease, Pfizer is also looking to enter the flu market with a vaccine co-developed with its COVID vaccine partner, BioNTech.
Beyond a standalone flu vaccine, Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer and president Worldwide Research and Developmen, told analysts that a “key priority” is the development of “a broad seasonal vaccine franchise…. Our development program includes double and triple combination vaccines to potentially help protect against flu, COVID-19, and RSV.”
Such combinations would make sense, since the annual vaccination rate for flu is around 50%, but recent reports have put the rate for the latest COVID booster at as low as 3%.
Bourla said Pfizer expects a combined flu/COVID shot to launch in 2025.