Wyeth Sees Strong First Quarter Based on Demand for Prevnar, Enbrel
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals is counting on strong demand for its vaccine Prevnar and arthritis drug Enbrel to drive its first-quarter earnings above Wall Street's expectations.
Wyeth Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Martin said the company should post first-quarter earnings in the high 70-cent range, which would beat Wall Street's current consensus of 67 cents per share. "The moon and the stars are aligning just right for us in the first quarter," Martin said in a conference call with analysts.
The company's first-quarter performance can be largely attributed to increased sales of pneumococcal meningitis vaccine Prevnar (diphtheria CRM protein), which turned around after a weak first quarter in 2004, Martin said. Manufacturing problems during last year's first quarter resulted in short supplies of the vaccine, causing sales to dip sharply. Those problems have since been addressed, Martin said.
Wyeth's arthritis drug Enbrel (etanercept) has also overachieved this quarter, thanks to its launch in the European Union. Wyeth shares marketing rights to Enbrel with Amgen.