There was good news and bad news for Pfizer (PFE 0.61%) the last time it reported quarterly results. In May, the big drugmaker announced earnings for the first quarter that beat analysts' estimates but revenue that fell from the prior-year period.
Pfizer provides its update for the second quarter of 2017 on Aug. 1. While there's no way to know for sure how well the company performed, here are three things you can expect with Pfizer's second-quarter results.
1. A mixed bag financially
The consensus among Wall Street analysts is that Pfizer will report another mixed bag financially. Pfizer is expected to announce revenue of just over $13 billion, down slightly from the prior-year period. The average analyst estimate calls for earnings per share of $0.66, a little higher than the $0.64 posted in the second quarter of 2016.
Are these estimates realistic? Probably so. Pfizer will certainly feel the impact on year-over-year revenue comparisons from its sale of Hospira Infusion Systems to ICU Medical in February 2016. The drugmaker's top line will also undoubtedly continue to be weighed down by the performance of its essential-health segment, which is feeling the sting of sales declines from products that have either lost exclusivity or soon will do so.
However, earnings should show a little improvement largely from Pfizer's controlling spending. The company kept both selling, general, and administrative expenses and research-and-development expense below prior-year-period levels in the first quarter. Assuming Pfizer keeps that trend going, its bottom-line performance should look better than its top line.
2. Improvement for Prevnar 13 and Xtandi
I'm going to go out on a limb just a bit and predict that Pfizer will report incremental improvement for its top-selling product, pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar 13. I also suspect that there could be some better news for prostate cancer drug Xtandi than the company had in the first quarter.
My rationale for Prevnar 13 is that Pfizer has remained committed to its full-year 2017 outlook for the vaccine's sales to be flat to slightly down compared with 2016. In the first quarter, sales for Prevnar 13 fell nearly 8%. For Pfizer to meet its outlook, year-over-year sales comparisons have to get better throughout the rest of the year.
Despite paying a hefty price for Medivation last year, sales results for Xtandi have been disappointing so far, even decreasing in the first quarter from the same period in 2016. This result is primarily due to heavy utilization of Pfizer's patient-assistance programs to pay for the drug. However, Pfizer regained full access for the prostate cancer drug with two large pharmacy benefits managers for the second quarter. This situation should be enough to make the company's second-quarter update more encouraging for Xtandi.
3. A lot of focus on the pipeline
Pfizer's current bright spots, including Eliquis and Ibrance, are largely overshadowed by weakness with the essential-health segment as well as headwinds for Prevnar 13, Enbrel, and some other drugs. However, the company has plenty of positive things to talk about with its pipeline -- so that's almost certainly what it will do in the second-quarter update.
Pfizer claims 96 clinical programs. The company awaits regulatory approval for 11 of those. Another 32 are in late-stage studies. Expect plenty of discussion about Bavencio, which has already received approval for treating Merkel cell carcinoma and advanced bladder cancer but is also in multiple late-stage studies targeting other cancer indications, either as a monotherapy or in combination with other treatments.
The drugmaker will also probably highlight other oncology candidates, particularly lorlatinib and talazoparib. Pfizer hopes to submit lorlatinib for U.S. regulatory approval as a second-line treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer in the second half of 2017. Top-line results from a late-stage study of talazoparib, which Pfizer picked up with its acquisition of Medivation, are expected in early 2018.
What not to expect
What should investors not expect when Pfizer gives its second-quarter update? I wouldn't count on any new revelations about the potential for future acquisitions. Although Pfizer's management team is relatively open in its discussions about business-development plans, the likelihood for any significant deal seems low right now, in my view.
The biggest reason I think that's the case is that Pfizer, like several other big companies, wants to see what will happen in Washington, D.C., with respect to corporate tax reform. Pfizer also would prefer the dust to settle with the U.K.'s exit from the European Union. I have no doubt that the company will be quite active in big mergers and acquisitions in the future, but for now investors probably shouldn't expect any real news on this front.