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Pfizer Stock Up This Year So Far: What's Going in its Favor?

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Pfizer, Inc.’s (PFE - Free Report) stock has risen 14.4% this year so far, outperforming the industry’s rally of 5.3%. Pfizer’s outperformance has been backed by decent quarterly results in the first half and positive news flow and regulatory updates.

 

 

Pfizer delivered well on its R&D pipeline with meaningful data readouts and regulatory updates announced this year. It gained approval for a new type II diabetes medicine Steglatro and two fixed dose combinations in the EU this year. Steglatro and its two fixed dose combinations were approved in the United States in December last year.

Key approvals for line extensions of marketed drugs this year included Xtandi for non-metastatic prostate cancer patient population in the United States and Xeljanz for new indications — ulcerative colitis in both Europe and United States and active psoriatic arthritis in Europe.

Pfizer boasts a strong pipeline and expects approximately 25 to 30 drug approvals through 2022, including around 15 products that have blockbuster potential.

Pfizer also delivered on its biosimilars pipeline this year, which represents significant growth opportunity. A biosimilar version of Roche’s (RHHBY - Free Report) blockbuster cancer drug, Herceptin was approved in the EU in July while it is under review in the United States. In the United States, a biosimilar version of Amgen’s (AMGN - Free Report) Epogen was approved in May while a biosimilar of Amgen’s Neupogen was approved in July. These are expected to be launched soon. Pfizer is evaluating 13 biosimilar molecules in various stages of development. Pfizer is hoping to launch five biosimilars in the next two years.

Meanwhile, several pipeline and regulatory events are scheduled for the rest of2018/2019. In oncology, Pfizer has four potential medicines under FDA’s priority review – dacomitinib, glasdegib, lorlatiniband talazoparib. Decisions on all these medicines are expected later this year.

Also, in July, Pfizer announced that it is re-organizing its business into three business segments to better manage its business, separating its Consumer Healthcare business into a standalone unit. Beginning 2019, Pfizer will report under three new business units — Innovative Medicines, Established Medicines and Consumer Healthcare. The present Innovative Health unit will be called Innovative Medicines. The Essential Health unit will be renamed Established Medicines.

Conclusion

Pfizer, which carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), faces its share of challenges in the form of genericization of key drugs, supply challenges in the legacy Hospira portfolio, pricing pressure and rising competition. However, we believe Pfizer will be able to overcome these headwinds with support from its new products like Ibrance, contribution from acquisitions, cost-cutting efforts and consistent pipeline progress.

A better-ranked large-cap drug stock is Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Free Report) , which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Bristol-Myers’ earnings estimates increased almost 5% for 2018 as well as for 2019 over the last 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 6.39%.

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