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Pfizer Beats Q2 Earnings Forecast, Lifts 2020 Profit Guidance; Shares Jump

Pfizer lifted its 2020 sales and profit guidance after a stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings report, adding that it's committed to its coronavirus vaccine effort.

Pfizer Inc.  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report posted stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings Tuesday, and lifted its full-year profit guidance, as branded drug sales offset the slowdown linked to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Pfizer said profits for the three months ending in June were pegged at 78 cents per share, down 2.5% from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of 66 cents per share. Group revenues, Pfizer said, fell 11% to $11.8 billion but again beat analyst's estimates of a n $11.55 billion tally.

Looking into the final half of the year, Pfizer said it sees revenues of $48.6 billion to $50.6 billion, a $100 million increase from its prior forecast,  and adjusted earnings of $2.85 to $2.95 per share, a 3 cents per share improvement.

"We remain fully committed to confronting the public health challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by collaborating with industry partners and academic institutions to develop potential approaches to prevent and treat COVID-19," said CEO Albert Bourla. "Our researchers and scientists have made important progress toward developing an effective vaccine though significant additional work remains." 

“Our strong performance in the first half of the year highlights the resiliency of our business even during the most challenging times," he added. "The Biopharma business grew 9% operationally in the first six months of the year, driven by strong performances from many key brands. Upjohn faced the expected headwind of generic competition for Lyrica in the U.S. that was partially offset by strong performance in China in second-quarter 2020."

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Pfizer shares were marked 3.2% higher in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $38.74 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date decline to around 1.1%.

Pfizer also said revenues from Upjohn, its wholly-owned business that will be combined with Mylan, fell 32% to $2.006 billion, while biopharma revenues rose 4% to $9.795 billion, driven mostly by a strength in the group's Ibrance breast cancer treatment and its Eliuis blood clotting treatment. 

Pfizer said late Monday that it would launch a global study, along with the drugmaker's German partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR Report, into the efficacy of its BNT162 mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine candidate 

Last week, the pair agreed to provide 600 million doses of the vaccine to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense once its approved, after earlier reaching a similar deal with the British government.