Tony Hagen is senior managing editor for The Center for Biosimilars®.
The strong growth of biosimilars Pfizer recently launched in the United States are part of the success story, although reference etanercept (Enbrel) sales have seen major erosion.
Third-quarter earnings for Pfizer revealed a strong upward pattern for biosimilar penetration, despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Biosimilar revenues climbed to $424 million (up 80%), driven mainly by the recent launches of biosimilars for rituximab (Ruxience), bevacizumab (Zirabev), and trastuzumab (Trazimera) products in the United States and elsewhere, Pfizer said in an earnings report.
The company also cited ongoing growth in revenues from its epoetin zeta biosimilar (Retacrit), mainly in the United States.
Pfizer said sales declined 21% overall for its reference product Enbrel (etanercept) owing to competition in Europe, Japan, and Brazil, where biosimilars of this drug are available.
Biosimilar and generic competition for Pfizer’s products that are losing or have lost patent protection was cited for an anticipated “negative revenue impact of $2.4 billion” for the full year 2020. However, success with Pfizer’s own biosimilar launches contributed to 4% overall operational revenue growth, the company said. Third-quarter revenues totaled $12.1 billion.
“In the first 9 months of the year, our biopharma business grew 7% operationally, despite a COVID-19–related negative impact of approximately 2%, driven by the strong performance of many of our key brands,” said Frank D’Amelio, chief financial officer and executive vice president of Global Supply for Pfizer.