Pfizer: Potential new billion-dollar drugs in development (NYSE: PFE)
Pfizer’s success story
The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) is one of the largest companies in the world and is mainly known for its great capacity for innovation. Over the years, he has managed to bring dozens of breakthrough drugs to market, such as such as Viagra or Lyrica, while developing Lipitor, a prescription for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, which has reached $125 billion in sales in 14.5 years. But what are the most promising drugs in Pfizer’s pipeline so far?
Pfizer’s long pipeline
Pfizer, according to the latest quarterly report in May, currently has 96 drugs in development, divided between phase1 (30 drugs), phase2 (31 drugs), phase3 (29 drugs) and in registration (6 drugs).
Medicines are divided into six main sections, which are:
- Inflammation and Immunology
- Internal Medicine
- Rare sickness
- Hospital (Anti-infectives)
In phase 3, two of the most exciting drugs from which Pfizer could earn billions of dollars:
- fordadistrogene movaparvovec (PF-06939926) for the treatment of Duchenne syndrome
- (PF-06928316) for the treatment of Respiratory syncytial virus infection
Duchenne affects about 1 person 3,500 to 5,000 men born in the world. There are an estimated 250,000 patients worldwide, or approximately 10,000-15,000 in the USA. It mainly affects men, but sometimes, more rarely, it can also affect women. Duchenne causes weakening and damage to the muscles of the body over time, leading to the death of the patient. Muscles begin to weaken between the ages of 3 and 5, and most patients use a wheelchair by age 12. During adolescence, heart and respiratory muscles weaken, leading to life-threatening complications. Genetic testing can confirm the diagnosis and identify the mutation in the dystrophin gene that causes the disease.
The Duchenne syndrome market
Analysts expect the Duchenne syndrome market to be worth around $7 billion in 2027. To date, the main drugs approved are Exondys 51, Amondys 45 and Vyondys 53 from Sarepta, and Translarna from PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) (approved in Europe) and Emflaza (approved in America). PTC Therapeutics does $423 million (Translarna is worth $236 million and Emflaza $187 million), while Sarepta made $612 million of his medication in 2021.
Analysts expect the market to reach a value of around $4 billion in 2023, of which only $1.5 billion will be occupied by drugs so far. So there’s plenty of room for companies that are developing drugs for Duchenne’s treatment to date and are ahead in trials, like Sarepta and Pfizer.
Other companies developing drugs
Duchenne syndrome has been treated for several years with drugs that can reduce patient suffering without eliminating it. Pfizer’s main competitors are Sarepta (SRPT) and its SRP-9001 and Solid Biosciences (SLDB) with its SGT-001. Sarepta recently released updated data on SRP-9001 which continues to show great promise.
Pfizer, at the end of April, resumed the trial of (PF-06939926) after the latter was suspended twice: in August 2021 following three serious adverse events muscle weakness (including two with myocarditis) and in December after the death of a patient.
The other gene therapy candidate, Solid Bio SGT-001, lags behind its two rivals. Solid announced in late April that it has completed enrollment in the Phase I/II IGNITE DMD study (NCT03368742) for SGT-001 and will continue to monitor treated patients for five years after treatment. In March, Solid published favorable two-year safety and efficacy data from the first three high-dose patients, who showed improved motor function two years after treatment.
Respiratory syncytial virus infection
RSV is a common, highly contagious virus that is spread through contact with a contaminated surface or through sneezing and coughing. According to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV causes an average of 58,000 hospitalizations per year in the United States, with 100 to 500 deaths in children under five and 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths in adults 65 years of age. and more. The cost of treating adult cases alone is estimated at $3 billion per year.
The respiratory syncytial virus market
Analysts expect the RSV market to reach $4 billion by 2027. However, in 2020, the RSV market fell by 48% due to the adoption of COVID-19 protection and prevention tools that significantly reduced the transmission of the virus. The RSV market can be divided into a major part related to prophylaxis and a minor part dependent on hospital treatment. The launch by Pfizer and Glaxo of maternal vaccines could stimulate the growth of the sector related to prophylaxis. Pfizer believes that the entire portfolio of drugs in development acquired from ReViral for the treatment of RSV could generate or exceed $1.5 billion.
Competition with GlaxoSmithKline and other companies
Three other competitors for the development of the first RSV vaccine are GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Moderna (MRNA) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). While vaccines developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer use the same technology, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines use different technology. So instead, Moderna wants to create a stunt to prevent disease (RSV), Covid-19 and the flu.
Today, GlaxoSmithKline is the most advanced company in vaccine development. The latest data released by the company shows that the injection is the first to work in the age group vulnerable to primary infectious disease. With this data, Glaxo expects to submit regulatory submissions in the second half of 2022.
Advantages and disadvantages of the two drugs from Pfizer
There are several pros and cons to Pfizer drugs that an investor should consider before putting their money in this stock.
- Pro: The drugs that Pfizer develops are essential for treating diseases that are little or not treated but which affect hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The price of Duchenne syndrome treatments is very high, hundreds of thousands of dollars (Exondys 51, the latest drug developed by Sarepta, is estimated at between 750,000 and 1.5 million dollars per year). Pfizer is already far ahead in the trial, with both drugs in Phase 3 delivering encouraging results.
- The inconvenients: Both for the treatment of Duchenne syndrome and for the treatment of RSV, Pfizer must compete with companies that are ahead of it in trials. This delay could harm it and cause it to lose market share. In addition, during the trial for Duchenne syndrome, there were serious adverse effects on three patients which slowed down the trial. Although Pfizer has received regulatory and ethical approvals to continue the movaparvovec fordadistrogene trial in the outpatient population, it continues to consider restarting the trial in more advanced patients. However, Sarepta had also reported a case of muscle weakness in a phase 3 trial of SRP-9001 in October 2021.
For the treatment of Duchenne and RSV, Pfizer is developing breakthrough drugs that could generate billions in revenue for the company’s coffers. In both cases, however, some companies are slightly more advanced in their development, which could be a significant obstacle. Besides drug efficacy, what will make the difference will be companies’ ability to manage pricing and relationships with healthcare providers.
Pfizer is a dominant company in its industry, and its vast pipeline shows that it is a company that can always innovate and stay on top. Despite fierce competition, Pfizer continues to be among the top biopharmaceutical companies in the world (having developed the most widely used covid vaccine is proof of this). Moreover, it is a company with enormous financial resources (augmented by the resounding success of the coronavirus vaccine), capable of supporting all the trials it pursues.