Pfizer has today forecast 2019 profit and sales below Wall Street estimates as it expects to take a blow from a stronger dollar and as well as the loss of patent on its blockbuster pain treatment Lyrica this year.
The drugmaker, along with partner Eli Lilly, also reported data from a late-stage trial of painkiller tanezumab, that some analysts said could raise safety concerns.
Pfizer has outlined tanezumab, an experimental non-opioid drug for osteoarthritis pain, as one of its blockbuster drugs it intends to win approval for within five years.
Analysts said the 2019 forecast, along with the data on tanezumab that will likely not ease any outstanding safety concerns on the drug, will lead to some pressure on Pfizer shares.
To counter revenue loss from generic competition to Lyrica, the largest US drugmaker has been investing heavily in its portfolio of cancer treatments and expects to gain approval for a new heart drug later this year.
The drugmaker's robust pipeline is seen by analysts as key to helping it ride out upcoming patent expirations and fighting increased competition from cheaper generics.
In the quarter, sales of breast cancer drug Ibrance rose 58% to $1.13 billion, helped by demand in Europe, but came in slightly below the consensus estimate of $1.16 billion, according to Credit Suisse.
In the fourth quarter, Lyrica brought in quarterly sales of $1.32 billion, compared with a consensus estimate of $1.21 billion.
The company earned 64 cents per share excluding items, just above the average analyst estimate of 63 cents per share.
The company said its revenue rose about 2% to $13.98 billion, also beating the estimate of $13.90 billion.
Pfizer forecast 2019 adjusted earnings of $2.82 to $2.92 per share and revenue of $52 billion to $54 billion.
The outlook includes a $2.6 billion hit from patent expirations and about $1 billion from forex losses, the company said.
Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $3.04 per share and revenue of $54.25 billion.