Pfizer, BioNTech Shares Fall On Lower COVID Product Sales Forecast
Shares of Pfizer and German partner BioNTech fell on Monday after the U.S. drugmaker slashed the sales forecast for its COVID vaccine and therapy last week, and some analysts said the reduction was bigger than expectations.
Hit by a plunge in the use of pandemic-related products, Pfizer on Friday reduced its full-year forecast for sales of its antiviral COVID treatment Paxlovid by about $7 billion, and for the vaccine it developed with BioNTech by about $2 billion.
Pfizer said it will take a non-cash charge of $5.5 billion in the third quarter due to $4.6 billion in inventory write-offs for Paxlovid and $900 million of write-offs for the vaccine, while BioNTech flagged write-downs of up to 900 million euros ($947 million).
The COVID sales forecast cut was bigger than expected, Wells Fargo analyst Mohit Bansal said, adding that Wall Street’s COVID sales estimates for the next few years may come down.
A BioNTech spokesperson on Monday declined to comment on the company’s current 2023 outlook.
Shares in BioNTech, which is also developing cancer treatments, were down 6.7% at a two-month low in Frankfurt. Its U.S.-listed shares fell 6.8% in premarket trading, while Pfizer’s shares fell 2%.
The news also dragged down shares of rival COVID vaccine maker Moderna by 4.7%.
BioNTech, which relies on vaccine-related profit-sharing payments from Pfizer for much of its revenue, said the write-offs would also reduce its 2023 revenue.
The company added that it had been told by Pfizer that most of the write-offs relate to raw materials, as well as to inventories of vaccine versions that are older or different from the upgraded one currently in use.
Pfizer’s shares, which are down about 37% this year, trade 9.8 times their 12-month forward earnings estimate, while BioNTech trades at 26.7, according to LSEG data.