Shares of Clinigen Group – the global pharmaceutical and services company – have crashed by around 25% so far today after the company lowered its earnings forecast for the 2021 financial year ending June 30.

The lower earnings were understandably attributed to the pandemic. It has been widely reported in the media that there has been reduced demand for in-patient oncology treatments, as hospitals admit more coronavirus patients instead of cancer patients.

In particular, demand for its Proleukin drug was “significantly weaker” than expected in recent months.

The AIM-listed group highlighted that it felt it was prudent to expect this reduced level of demand for Proleukin to remain until revitalisation efforts into new indications alongside novel cell therapies were successful and normal hospital and cancer centre services had resumed.

Chief executive Shaun Chilton said: “Covid-19 has continued to have a significant impact on our business as it has for many other companies operating in the clinical trial and hospital-based products area.

“Due to the strength of our underlying business, the simplification of our operating model and continued high-level of business wins in services, we are optimistic about the future and anticipate a return to double-digit growth in the next financial year.”

Clinigen maintained its prior revenue growth forecast of 5-10%. The company now expects its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to be between £114m and £117m for the 2021 financial year.

It’ll be interesting to see what results other medical services companies provide. Is this worse than competitors – perhaps the share price fall today would suggest so?

A quick look at Smith & Nephew which is much bigger and is a provider of wound care and artificial joints primarily, faces many of the same challenges as Clinigen. But it seems to have fared far better. Back in April it was able reinstate full year guidance after a rise in first quarter revenues driven by increased surgery volumes, acquisitions and new products.

It’s the same at takeover target UDG Healthcare. At the end of 2020, it’s full year results showed a sharper than expected rise in full-year profits on the back of “strong” growth at its Sharp unit, which focuses on contract clinical, manufacturing and packaging. It’s businesses were affected in different ways by the pandemic, some benefitted while others were hurt. Again not exactly comparing apples and apples but it once again shows Clinigen seems to have done particularly badly.

Though you could argue these examples aren’t exactly comparable like for like, today’s announcement from Clinigen doesn’t look good. It’ll be interesting to see if the shares can bounce back.