Pfizer's hot-selling Ibrance gets even hotter with new $710M sales estimate for 2015

Pfizer's ($PFE) Ibrance was a drug to watch from the get-go: It won FDA approval months early, and early uptake was quick. But now, its spotlight is getting even brighter.

Pfizer CEO Ian Read

Some 3,000 prescribers are using the breast cancer drug with their HER2-negative patients, up from 800 at the end of March, CEO Ian Read said during the company's second-quarter earnings call. First-line market share was 22% for Q2, more than double the size of the niche Ibrance carved out in Q1. The drug drove a 36% hike in Pfizer's overall oncology sales, too.

For the second quarter alone, Ibrance pulled in $140 million, nearly double analyst estimates of $72 million. The drug's performance, in fact, has analysts boosting sales expectations for the year--and by a big margin. Leerink Partners analyst Seamus Fernandez, for one, raised his Ibrance estimate to $710 million for the full year, up from $400 million previously.

The company expects to file for European approval by the end of September, a move that won't pump up 2015 sales, but should start paying off next year. And in another market-expanding prospect, the company called an early halt to its PALOMA-3 trial in previously treated patients, thanks to impressive survival data. Adding Ibrance to AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Faslodex more than doubled progression-free survival to 9.2 months from 3.8 months. Those results promise a new second-line indication for Ibrance to add to its current first-line approval.

Plus, Pfizer is starting a raft of new Ibrance studies to add to its search for new combination indications for the drug. One of those is looking at Ibrance as a treatment for head and neck cancer, specifically in patients whose tumors aren't linked to human papillomavirus. It's prepping a Phase II study of Ibrance plus Abraxane in advanced pancreatic cancer as well, Pfizer oncology chief Albert Bourla said during the Q2 earnings call.

- see the transcript from The Street

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