The news was largely positive from Pfizer’s release of its second quarter results, revenues were up by 4.4% and its biosimilar business is showing healthy growth at 44%.
With revenue up, Pfizer has decided to increase investment in R&D and raise its guidance on this expense to a figure ranging from $7.7bn (€6.59bn) to $8.1bn, increased from its previous guidance of $7.4bn to $7.9bn.
On this note, Pfizer CEO, Ian Read, stated during the company’s earnings call that: “Our pipeline is as deep and focused as it's ever been”.
Through to 2020, Read suggested that the company expects between 25 and 30 regulatory approvals – predicting that, of these, up to 15 have the potential to become blockbuster products for the company.
Its Innovative Health unit could potentially be looking at a number of new drugs bolstering the portfolio over the next four years, adding to the 5% revenue increase the unit saw in Q2.
Concern over Essential Health
However, the future of Pfizer’s Essential Health unit, which notably contains biosimilars, off-patent medicines and sterile injectables, did not look quite as robust in the financials.
Operational revenues were down by 4% due to a 12% decline in Legacy Established products portfolio in developed markets and a 17% operational decline in the Sterile Injectable Pharmaceuticals portfolio in developed markets.
The bright spots within the unit were biosimilars and sales of Viagra (sildenafil), recently moved over from Innovative Health. Biosimilars, in particular, growing by 44% and showing why the company was determined to become a leader in the area.
The only snag is that the recently announced reshuffle of the business will see biosimilars transferred into Innovative Medicines, taking away some of the growth provided to this area. Whilst Viagra is facing a bevy of generic rivals due to it going off-patent and no longer needing to be prescribed in some countries.