Health and Science

Pfizer gaining market share in oncology: CEO

Pfizer CEO: Ibrance drug well received by physicians

Pfizer is gaining market share for drugs that treat aggressive breast cancer after the release of its new treatment, Chairman and CEO Ian Read said Monday.

Read made his comments on the sidelines of the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, the world's largest cancer research gathering, where Pfizer was presenting new data from its phase two and phase three trials for its breast cancer product Ibrance.

"We launched in the first quarter and since then we have taken our market share from 10 to 20 percent in first line. We've doubled the number of patients, doubled the number of physicians that are prescribing, so the launch is going well, which means it's been well received by physicians," Read said in an interview on "Squawk Alley."

The new phase two data for Ibrance show that the drug works well in women with breast cancer that has moved into their bones, Pfizer said. The phase three data studied instances of cancer in a different, larger population whose breast cancer had returned.

Read MoreCancer drug stocks set to move on ASCO news

In addition, Pfizer was scheduled to present data on an emerging class of immuno-oncology agents and precision medicine for lung cancer.

Read told CNBC the company does not usually attend ASCO, but it is stepping up its commitment to oncology.

"This is almost the coming of age of Pfizer's oncology effort," Read said. "We've been investing for five to seven years now in oncology."

Ian Read, CEO of Pfizer.
Jodi Gralnick | CNBC

In a recent note, Jefferies said it believed Pfizer is working hard to prioritize its early stage cancer assets, and forecast Ibrance would outperform sales estimates.

Read MoreObamacare unravel could be lose-lose: Experts

"The recent FDA approval of Ibrance has proven our point and we are already seeing signs of a very successful launch of the product through our channel checks and Q1'15 results. We estimate FY 2015 Ibrance revenues of $368m versus just $282m in consensus," Jefferies analysts wrote.

Asked about the rising price of pharmaceuticals, Read said Pfizer believes the solution is good health care with low copays. He also warned against measures that would reduce innovation.

"In reality, the real question is, 'Is society willing to continue to support innovation?'" he said. "We're on the verge of major breakthroughs. This is not the time to pull back on the pace of innovation."