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Pfizer posts earnings beat, raises 2019 profit forecast

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By Reuters
Pfizer posts earnings beat, raises 2019 profit forecast
FILE PHOTO: The logo of U.S. pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc. is seen at a branch in Zurich, Switzerland October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD   -   Copyright  Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)

By Tamara Mathias

(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit and tweaked its earnings forecast for the year on Tuesday, as it reported rising sales of cancer drug Ibrance and pneumonia vaccine Prevnar, pushing shares in the drugmaker higher.

The company pushed its 2019 adjusted earnings per share forecast marginally higher to $2.83 to $2.93 per share, from a prior estimate of $2.82 to $2.92. Analysts had expected $2.89 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Ibrance raked in sales of $1.13 billion (£869.97 million), up 21.4 percent from a year earlier, and ahead of analysts’ estimates of $1.12 billion.

Prevnar brought in revenue of $1.49 billion, beating an average analyst estimate of $1.39 billion. Excluding special items, the company earned 85 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimate of 75 cents.

Shares in the company rose around 1.5 percent in trading before the bell.

The largest U.S. drugmaker has announced plans to streamline operations since new chief executive Albert Bourla took office at the start of the year with a mandate to push growth and reduce bureaucracy.

To counter the threat of generic competition to Lyrica, one of its biggest drugs, Pfizer has been investing in cancer treatments and gene therapies, and expects to gain approval for a new heart drug, touted as a potential blockbuster, later this year.

The company said net income rose to $3.88 billion, or 68 cents per share, in the first quarter, from $3.56 billion, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 1.6 percent to $13.12 billion, ahead of estimates of $12.99 billion.

(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Patrick Graham)