Revenues 2012: $58.986 billion
Revenues 2011: $65.259 billion 

Pfizer CEO Ian Read

Pfizer ($PFE) has gone through more transmutations than a character in a "Twilight" movie during its first full year without Lipitor exclusivity. It sold off its nutrition business to Nestlé for $11.9 billion. It spun off its animal health operation into Zoetis ($ZTS), picking up $2.2 billion for the 17% share it put on the market. The parsing led to a lot of speculation about Pfizer breaking itself up completely, à la Abbott Laboratories/AbbVie, but CEO Ian Read has said that wouldn't happen anytime soon. 

Pfizer also vaporized some $4.5 billion in costs last year from R&D, sales and administration, and intends to cut more this year. Still, all of that could not completely erase the pain of having the world's most profitable product fall before the generic buzzsaw. The cholesterol drug lost 59% of its worldwide sales, 81% in the U.S. From $9.6 billion in 2011, Lipitor could produce only $3.9 in revenue last year, dragging down overall sales and profits, when special items were stripped out. 

It is not that Pfizer doesn't have blockbusters to rely on, like its pain drug Lyrica and pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar/Prevenar 13. And Pfizer landed 5 new drug approvals in 2012--with the anticoagulant and potential blockbuster Eliquis among them. It also has some promising drugs in the pipeline. Read points to palbociclib (PD-332991) for advanced breast cancer and RN316, a PCSK9 inhibitor for lowering LDL cholesterol, among others. But for this year, Pfizer will still be identified as much by what it isn't anymore, as for what it is. It looks to cut another $1.3 billion out of R&D, as well to continue cuts to sales. The company will kill more jobs on top of the 50,000 lost since 2005.   

On the growth side of the equation, Pfizer is looking to emerging markets, and believes the best play there lies with partnerships. It has a joint venture to develop generic drugs with Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals, and the two have been pushing that one full-tilt. They were in a rush to hire 600 new employees by the end of last year, more than doubling that operation's size to 1,000. Plans are to double again this year by adding another 1,500. Making sure to cover its basis in other areas of China, the company also has a minority stake in Shanghai Pharmaceuticals, a key drug distributor. It hopes that collaboration will help it pump sales of its Prevenar 13 pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in rural China. 

Prevenar 13 is already the world's leader in vaccine sales with more than $3.7 billion last year, EvaluatePharma expects it to maintain that top spot through at least 2018, when it projects it will add more than $6.7 billion to Pfizer's top line. 

For more:
Special Report: Pfizer - Top 5 Vaccine Companies by Revenue - 2012
Forget $4 generics. Free Lipitor copies are the new drug promo
Ranbaxy unveils unexpected loss on generic Lipitor recall costs
Fighting the $9B ghost of Lipitor past, Pfizer points to new drugs


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