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15 June, 2024

Pfizer's value sinks $144B on COVID changes

Vaccine success fails to keep company's value afloat

Source: Daily Mail

Pfizer has lost $88billion in market share and $144billion in value since its market peak in just one year as the drugmaker suffers a major hangover from the success of its COVID vaccine.

The pharmaceutical giant enjoyed a record $100billion in sales last year, powered by its COVID vaccine and drug.

But after becoming the first pharma firm to break the billion-dollar barrier, its performance has fallen off a cliff this year.

The company’s role in alleviating the worst of the pandemic has meant it has become a victim of its own success, as demand for its COVID products dwindles along with serious cases of the virus.

Shares are down 31 percent this year to date, a loss of more than $88billlion in market capitalization.

Pfizer’s valuation has dropped by $144billion since its 2021 peak.

This cycle is not unusual for pharmaceutical giants, which often suffer peaks and troughs when patents for their drugs expire.

Pfizer itself has endured similar sales drops in the past for Viagra and its anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor.

But its current plight has been exacerbated by its decision to slim down and become a growth stock, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The New York-based drugmaker cut back slower-growing businesses that provided steady cash flow prior to the pandemic, instead betting on higher-growth but more volatile prescription drugs.

It paid off handsomely during the pandemic as Pfizer sold billions of the COVID-19 shots it developed alongside Germany’s BioNTech.

Company shares reached a record high of around $61 in December 2021 at the height of the Omicron variant.

But it has since come crashing down to earth, with its shares now worth around $35.

Earlier this year, Pfizer said it expects its COVID vaccine to bring $13.5billion in sales in 2023, down by around two-thirds from last year.

Meanwhile, it said its Covid-19 antiviral medication Paxlovid is expected to generate around $8billion in sales this year, down 58 percent from last year.

Sales are lower because governments have bought fewer contracts and the US is moving towards a commercial market for anti-COVID drugs.

Damage from a tornado to a North Carolina manufacturing plant in July might also impact sales, the company has said.

Pfizer said last week it should have a better idea of future demand for its pandemic products by the end of the year, by which time it will have launched its latest Covid-19 shot.

Should sales fall short of expectations, the company is ready to change tack.

CEO Albert Bourla has said Pfizer is ‘moving post-COVID.’

The firm has trumpeted plans to increase revenue through new drug approvals.

It predicts more than $10billion in 2030 sales from its $43billion proposed deal to buy cancer-drug biotech Seagen, as it pivots to anti-carcinogenic treatments.

The FDA has approved four Pfizer medicines so far this year. The company is more than halfway to achieving its target of rolling out 19 new drugs or expanded uses over 18 months through the first half of 2024.

An experimental multiple myeloma drug called elranatamab that is up for FDA approval could generate about $1billion in sales in 2030, according to Jefferies analyst Akash Tewari.

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