Pfizer Inc. said Tuesday it expects to report clinical trial results early this year for an experimental breast-cancer drug and for the use of its pneumonia vaccine in the elderly, as the company shifts focus from streamlining its commercial operations to launching products.

Ian Read AP Photo/Pfizer Inc.

New York, N.Y.-based Pfizer on Tuesday reported a 59% fall in net income to $2.57 billion for the fourth quarter, largely because it no longer has the income from an animal-health unit it spun off last year. The company also faced a tough comparison with a year-earlier period that included a gain of roughly $4.8 billion related to the divestiture of its former nutrition business.

Pfizer is counting on an experimental breast-cancer drug known as palbociclib, as well as the expanded use of its Prevnar pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, to help replace the billions of dollars in revenue lost in recent years as Pfizer's cholesterol drug Lipitor and other products began facing generic competition. This year, the company projects losing another $3 billion in sales owing to patent expirations.

"We will have two big [data] readouts that we've been waiting for," Pfizer Chief Executive Ian Read said in an interview.

Analysts say the breast-cancer drug could have more than $3 billion in yearly sales if it performs well in clinical testing and secures approval. Pfizer executives said on a conference call with analysts and investors that the company might talk with the Food and Drug Administration this year about seeking the drug's approval depending on the results from the phase 2 trial that are expected shortly.

Now Reporting

Track the performances of 150 companies as they report and compare their results with analysts' estimates. Sort by date and industry.

The Prevnar vaccine, which is approved for children and certain adults, is already one of Pfizer's biggest-selling products, with $1.1 billion in world-wide sales during the fourth quarter of last year, up 3%. Analysts estimate that expanding its use to adults who are 65 years and older could add another $1 billion in sales.

On the conference call, Pfizer executives said the company would talk with U.S. public health authorities about adding Prevnar's use in the elderly to the federal government's list of recommended vaccinations after the clinical trial results are reported.

Aside from parting ways with its animal-health and nutrition businesses, Pfizer recently divided its commercial operations into three units, and said the move could potentially lead to a split-up of the company. The units market drugs for pain and inflammatory diseases; drugs for cancer, vaccines and consumer products; and products that lost patent protection or will through 2015.

Chief Financial Officer Frank D'Amelio said on the conference call that Pfizer needed to show three years of audited financial results for each business before it could move to split any off. That would push any decision on the future of the businesses into 2017, though Mr. D'Amelio, in response to a question about the older-products business, sketched out a scenario for selling it beforehand.

Pfizer said it aims to increase revenue from long-standing products such as the Viagra erectile-dysfunction pill, while increasing sales for relatively new drugs like rheumatoid-arthritis drug Xeljanz and anticlotting agent Eliquis.

Cost-cutting resulted in lower operating and research-and-development spending during 2013 compared with the year earlier. Notably, R&D spending was $6.6 billion in 2013, down from $9.5 billion just three years earlier.

Meanwhile, the company said it bought back $16.3 billion in shares during the year and planned another $5 billion in buybacks in 2014.

For 2014, the company forecast per-share earnings of $2.20 to $2.30 and revenue of $49.2 billion to $51.2 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected, on average, a per-share profit of $2.28 and revenue of $49.74 billion. For 2013, Pfizer reported $51.58 billion in revenue.

For the fourth quarter, Pfizer reported a profit of $2.57 billion, or 39 cents a share, down from $6.32 billion, or 85 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue decreased 2.4% to $13.6 billion and included an unfavorable currency impact of 3%. Sales of Pfizer's biggest-selling product, the pain drug Lyrica, rose 11% to $1.26 billion.

Write to Jonathan D. Rockoff at and Tess Stynes at