Pfizer sticks to forecast after first-quarter profit boost from IbrancePfizer sticks to forecast after first-quarter profit boost from Ibrance
FILE PHOTO: Logo of U.S. pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc. is seen in Zurich

(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc on Tuesday reiterated its 2020 forecast after posting a quarterly profit that exceeded estimates on higher sales of breast cancer drug Ibrance and blood thinner Eliquis.

The largest U.S. drugmaker said it saw an increase in demand for its pneumonia vaccine Prevnar, some anti-infective products as well as certain sterile injectable products used in the treatment of severely sick COVID-19 patients. Overall Prevnar sales, however, fell 2.4%.

The company’s shares rose 2% in premarket trading after it said it continues to see full-year earnings in the range $2.82 to $2.92 as it expects an improvement in disrupted business activity in the second half of the year.

With a collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech, Pfizer is among the many drugmakers in the race to develop a vaccine to end the COVID-19 pandemic. The companies’ German trial is among the four studies worldwide to begin human testing of their vaccine candidates.

The largest U.S. drugmaker, however, warned of a hit to second-quarter results as lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the virus affects the rate of new prescriptions for its medicines and vaccinations.

Net income attributable to shareholders fell to $3.40 billion, or 61 cents per share, in the quarter, from $3.88 billion, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, it earned 80 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimate of 73 cents per share, according to Refinitiv data.

Revenue at the company, which is set to spin off its off-patent branded drugs business and combine it with generic drugmaker Mylan NV, fell 8.3% to $12.03 billion, but came ahead of the average estimate of $11.87 billion.

(Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph and Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)