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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Pfizer, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi

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·7-min read
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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 1, 2021 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Pfizer Inc. PFE, Novo Nordisk A/S NVO and Sanofi SNY.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

3 Big Drug/Biotech Stocks to Boost Your Portfolio's Health

It goes without saying that the drug/biotech sector has somewhat saved the world and brought global economic development back on track by providing vaccines to fight the dreadful COVID pandemic. While breakthrough infections continue, the vaccines have definitely lowered the risk of severe disease and death rates.

The world keenly watched the developments of this sector last year and continues to do so. People invested in stocks of big drugmakers for the relative stability they provide. The second-quarter earnings season also witnessed a recovery in demand trends from the impact of the pandemic with most companies offering an optimistic outlook for the second half.

With regard to pipeline developments, the drug/biotech industry continues to witness improvements in drug research in 2021 while withstanding the impact of the pandemic remarkably well. Though updates related to COVID-19 medicines/vaccines continue to take center stage this year as well, the sector has been witnessing developments in other innovative pipeline areas like Alzheimer’s.

Here we have highlighted three bigshot drugmakers, PfizerNovo Nordisk and Sanofi, all of which have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and are good stocks to add to your portfolio. All three companies have seen positive estimate revisions in the past 60 days. A chart showing the share price movement of these companies this year so far is given below.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Pfizer

Pfizer’s stock has risen 18.1% this year so far. Earnings estimates for 2021 have gone up from $4.01 to $4.09 and from $3.35 to $3.52 for 2022 over the past 60 days.

Pfizer has been riding high on the success of its two-shot vaccine for COVID-19, Comirnaty, which it developed in partnership with Germany-based company, BioNTech. The vaccine was developed in record time and is now approved for emergency/temporary use in several countries. It is the only vaccine that has been granted full approval by the FDA.

Comirnaty has become a key contributor to the top line. In the first half of 2021, the vaccine contributed $14.1 billion to Pfizer’s global sales.  The pharma giant expects to record $33.5 billion in revenues from Comirnaty in 2021.Pfizer/BioNTech have already delivered more than a billion doses of Comirnaty to help vaccinate the global population.

The companies are also evaluating the vaccine in younger patients, a booster vaccine dose and an updated version of the vaccine, specifically designed to target the rapidly spreading, highly infectious Delta variant. Earlier this month, the FDA granted emergency approval to the “third” or booster dose of Comirnaty for individuals 65 years and older and those in high-risk groups. Pivotal data announced this month showed that the vaccine was safe, well tolerated and initiated robust neutralizing antibody responses in children 5 to 11 years of age. Pfizer has submitted the initial data to the FDA to seek approval for Comirnaty for children of this age group.

Pfizer boasts a sustainable pipeline with multiple late-stage programs that can drive growth Pfizer’s Prevnar-20, a 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, was approved in the United States in June.

Overall, the Consumer Healthcare joint venture with Glaxo and the merger of Upjohn unit with Mylan (now Viatris) has made Pfizer a smaller company with a diversified portfolio of innovative drugs and vaccines. The smaller Pfizer should see better revenue growth. Pfizer expects strong growth of key brands like Ibrance, Inlyta and Eliquis to continue to drive sales this year.

Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk’s stock is up 37.6% this year so far. Estimates for Novo Nordisk’s 2021 earnings have increased from $3.09 to $3.26 per share in the past 60 days while that for 2022 have risen from $3.36 to $3.61 over the same period.

Novo Nordisk, a Danish company, has a vast portfolio of insulin drugs and diabetes-related products. Victoza, Ozempic (semaglutide), Xultophy and Saxenda have been helping the company maintain momentum. Label expansion of these existing drugs will further boost sales. In June 2021, the FDA approved semaglutide as a weekly 2.4 mg injection for weight management in people with obesity under the brand name of Wegovy. It is also evaluating semaglutide in phase III studies for Alzheimer’s disease and NASH.

Novo Nordisk has also stepped up its M&A activity lately and is making acquisitions to expand various parts of its business.

Sanofi

Though Sanofi’s stock is down 0.4% this year so far, its earnings estimate for 2022 has gone up from $4.30 to $4.31 over the past 60 days.

Sanofi’s Specialty Care unit is on a strong footing, particularly with regular label expansion of it and partner Regeneron’s immunology drug, Dupixent. The drug has become the key top-line driver for Sanofi. Dupixent is now annualizing at around €5.0 billion in sales after around three years on the market. Sanofi expects Dupixent to achieve more than €10 billion in peak sales. With outside U.S. revenues accelerating and multiple approvals for new indications expected in the near future, its sales are expected to be higher.

Sanofi possesses a leading vaccine operation, which has become the primary top-line driver. Its R&D pipeline is strong. Several data readouts are expected in 2021/2022. The company has also launched several new drugs in the past couple of years. This year it gained FDA approval for Nexviazyme for late-onset Pompe disease, a rare degenerative muscle disorder, in July.

Sanofi is also expanding its pipeline through M&A deals. It recently closed the acquisition of long-time partner, Translate Bio, which added the latter’s promising mRNA technology platform to Sanofi’s portfolio to develop therapeutics and vaccines. Earlier this month, Sanofi announced a definitive agreement to acquire New York-based biopharma company, Kadmon Holdings for a total equity value of $1.9 billion. The acquisition, if successfully closed, will add Rezurock, Kadmon’s newly launched FDA-approved treatment for chronic graft-versus-host disease.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.


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