The pandemic has been transformational for many businesses, but few can boast near-global domination the way Pfizer (PFE) can. The Pfizer/BioNTech (BNTX) vaccine accounts for 70% of all doses in the U.S. and E.U., as of February 5, according to CEO Albert Bourla Tuesday.
He added that the vaccine and other Pfizer medicines reached 1.4 billion patients in 2021, or about one in six people on Earth.
"This year, we'll do 5% operating growth, excluding COVID and Paxlovid," said CFO Frank D'Amelio.
But that didn't seem to sway investors Tuesday, as the company's stock took a hit on news that it would miss revenue estimates for the upcoming year.
But Bourla said the company sees sustained need for the vaccine and oral treatment, which supports the 2022 outlook.
"Our scientists continue to monitor the Sars-CoV-2 virus and believe it is unlikely that it will be fully eradicated in the foreseeable future," Bourla said on an earnings call Tuesday.
He outlined the reasons, including that the virus mutates often and is hard contain. In addition, he said, natural infection is not enough to provide durable protection in the way vaccines can, as observed with the Omicron variant.
It's why D'Amelio believes that the COVID-19 products are a sustainable source of revenue growth, noting the $54 billion in guidance for 2022, of which the vaccine still accounts for a majority at more than $36 billion. That is about half of the anticipated revenue range of $98 billion to $102 billion for the year.
'We continue to aim to be a leader on this new mRNA technology'
"We'll still have a very strong franchise, but I don't think it's going to be anywhere near the size of the numbers we currently have," D'Amelio told Yahoo Finance.
While there is significant criticism of the company's revenue reliance on pandemic products, as well as concerns over loss of exclusivity on some products starting in 2025, the company feels it is moving in the right direction for growth.
Previously, Bourla said the stock was undervalued by comparison to the biotechs whose stocks soared last year — including partner BioNTech and rival Moderna (MRNA). But that has slowly changed and the company's shares have gained some traction.
Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer, said the company is banking on its leadership in the mRNA space for future growth, in addition to growing oncology as a focus.
"Clearly, oncology and vaccines are areas with large opportunities internally and externally that will continue to be very active in business development," Dolsten told Yahoo Finance.
"I think we continue to aim to be a leader on this new mRNA technology," he said.
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