Three pharma giants this morning reported mixed fourth-quarter 2014 results, showing mostly declines in earnings and revenues results, as well as significant sales surges for some drugs, particularly cancer treatments.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) saw increases for its cancer drug franchise and its arthritis drug Orencia® (abatacept), but those surges were not enough to propel overall profits and revenues ahead of Q4 2014.
BMS saw its Q4 net income plunge 96% year-over-year to $27 million, of which less than half or $13 million was attributable to BMS, the company said (the rest is attributed to “noncontrolling interest”). However, most of the drop reflected a non-cash charge resulting from the transfer of $1.5 billion of U.S. pension obligations to Prudential. Total revenues dipped 4% during the quarter, to $4.258 billion.
For all of 2014, net earnings declined a more modest 22% over 2013, to $2.004 billion. Total revenues fell just 3%, to $15.879 billion.
Another factor in the earnings and revenue declines, BMS said, was its sell-off of its diabetes business. The company sold generated $3.3 billion plus the possibility of another $800 million by selling its diabetes business to AstraZeneca, its collaboration partner in the field, in February 2014. Absent that selloff, worldwide revenues would have increased 6%, the company said.
Within BMS’ cancer franchise, Yervoy performed best, its worldwide revenues surging 41% during Q4 to $366 million. Yet Yervoy remained BMS’ second-best selling cancer treatment during the quarter; the leader was Sprycel, whose worldwide revenues rose 9% to $398 million.
BMS’ newest cancer drug—Opdivo, approved late last year—racked up $5 million in Q4 worldwide revenues, in its first quarter on the market.
For all of 2014, Sprycel worldwide revenues jumped 17% over 2013, to $1.493 billion; while Yervoy ballooned 36%, to $1.308 billion. Orencia enjoyed a 14% rise in year-over-year quarterly revenues to $1.652 billion, while full-year revenues cracked the billion-dollar “blockbuster” level, rising 12% to $1.064 billion.
“Our performance in 2014 across brands and geographies, continued innovation and productivity in R&D and investments in business development opportunities reflect the strength and execution of our BioPharma strategy, and positions us well for 2015,” CEO Lamberto Andreotti said in a statement. Andreotti said last week he will be succeeded as CEO in May by COO Giovanni Caforio, M.D., but will move up to executive chairman, a role he will hold after his retirement on August 3.
Novartis during Q4 saw its net income fall 26%, to $1.487 billion, on net sales that dipped 2%, to $14.633 billion. The company took an exceptional pre-tax impairment charge of $1.1 billion related to the pending divestment of its influenza vaccines business to CSL, and blamed the weakening of the Euro, yen, and ruble against the U.S. dollar.
Novartis also took against operating income: A $157 million impairment charge related to terminating development of hepatitis C candidate DEB025 following a strategy review; and net restructuring charges of $207 million mainly related to a voluntary retirement program in Japan.
For all of 2014, however, Novartis net income rose 12% to $10.280 billion, on net sales that inched up 1% to $57.996 billion.
Novartis attributed its 2014 gains in part to a 14% surge in sales of “growth products” which grew to $4.7 billion or 32% of companywide or “group” net sales. Novartis defines growth products as those launched in 2009 or later, or products with exclusivity until at least 2018 in the key markets of the U.S., the EU, or Japan. The category also includes Sandoz generics and biosimilar products launched in the last 24 months.
Among key growth products for Novartis during Q4 was Gilenya, whose revenues rose 33% at constant currency, to $666 million. The oral MS therapy gained as doctors shifted away from injectable therapies, the company said. Jakavi showed the most growth with revenues nearly doubling (up 94%) to $84 million for the oral JAK inhibitor approved in myelofibrosis.
While sales from continuing operations decreased 2%, to $13.1 billion in Q4, the continuing operations results do not yet include oncology net assets that Novartis has said it will acquire from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for up to $16 billion, or results from the 36.5% interest in the GSK/Novartis consumer healthcare joint venture that the companies also plan to create. The GSK transaction is one in a series of deals totaling $28.5 billion announced last year, by which Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez aims to restructure the company by focusing more on perceived strengths.
“2014 was a transformational year for Novartis,” Jimenez said in a statement accompanying the results. “We improved our execution, while taking steps to focus the company on our three leading businesses with global scale. We delivered solid sales growth with margin expansion, strengthened innovation, and advanced our quality and productivity agendas. I’m confident that we are positioned for future success.”
Pfizer reported this morning’s most disappointing results among pharmas, finishing Q4 2014 with a 52% slide over the year-ago quarter in reported net income, to $1.228 billion.
For all of 2014, Pfizer’s reported net income plunged 58% on revenues that shrank 4%, to $49.605 billion.
Pfizer said its declines reflected in part an 11% drop in its largest revenue-generating segment of its mainstay drugs or “global established products,” which fell to $6.4 billion.
The company said its results were primarily due to declining revenues from Lipitor in developed markets as a result of generic competition, as well as patent-cliff losses of exclusivity and subsequent launch of multi-source generic competition for three products: Celebrex in the U.S. as of December 2014; Detrol LA in the U.S. as of January 2014; and Aricept in Canada as of December 2013.
Reported revenues slid 3% during the fourth quarter, to $13.118 billion.
One bright spot for Pfizer during Q4 was its global vaccines business, which grew fastest of all business segments, jumping 18% year-over-year to $1.318 billion. Pfizer said the vaccine sales surge was driven by a positive recommendation for use among adults aged 65 and up by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and a resulting increase in adult use. Prevnar 13 sales surged 33% in the U.S. and 11% internationally. For all of 2014, vaccine sales rose 13%, to $4.48 billion.
Another success for Pfizer was its Global Oncology business, which rose 10% to $609 million. The company said sales were primarily driven by continued strong underlying demand for Xalkori globally, Inlyta in most markets, and Sutent primarily in the U.S. and emerging markets.
Pfizer’s newer-drugs segment or “global innovative products” increased 3% during Q4, to $3,748 billion, on the sales strength of Lyrica, primarily in the U.S. and Japan, and the performance of recently-launched Eliquis globally, Xeljanz primarily in the U.S., and other products.
“As we look forward to 2015, we expect continued momentum with our pipeline, notably the potential U.S. approval of Ibrance (palbociclib) for advanced breast cancer, as well as anticipated strong growth in emerging markets and from our recent product launches in developed markets, including Eliquis, Xeljanz, Prevnar 13 in adults and Nexium 24HR,” Pfizer Chairman and CEO Ian Read said in a statement.