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AstraZeneca escapes pandemic impact as new drugs bolster revenues

Earnings climbed above expectations in the second quarter


British drugmaker AstraZeneca escaped the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in its second quarter results, posting an impressive increase in its revenues.

Total revenue for the quarter climbed 12% to $12.63bn for the half year, while overall revenue for the second quarter increased 8% to $6.27bn. That includes a rise in product sales, with a 6% increase in Q2 to $6.04bn and an 11% increase to $12.36bn for the half year.

The pharma giant seems to have avoided any significant effects on its earnings in the quarter, compared to other drugmakers including Roche which cited COVID-19 in its Q2 decline.

Strong sales and continued demand for AZ’s cardiovascular, renal and metabolism (CVRM) and oncology franchises helped to push sales in the quarter despite disruption caused by the pandemic.

Total revenue for the company’s oncology medicines climbed 28% for the half year to $5.32bn, with a majority of that increase fuelled by growth of its new cancer treatments Tagrisso (osimertinib), Imfinzi (durvalumab) and Lynparza (olaparib). Over in its CVRM franchise, total revenue reached $2.26bn thanks to strong sales of its heart failure med Farxiga (dapagliflozin) and Brilinta (ticagrelor).

Sales in AZ’s respiratory franchise were also better-than-expected, with sales of asthma treatment Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol fumarate dihydrate) increasing by 12% to bring in $653m – around $90m above general analyst forecasts.

AZ has maintained that it will not change its full-year guidance based on the strong results, and continues to expect total revenue increase for the year to remain at a high single-digit to a low double-digit percentage. Core earnings per share are also still expected to increase by a mid- to high-teens percentages this year.

With its Oxford University-partnered coronavirus vaccine moving into the late-stages of development, and promising early results in its pocket, AZ has been in the spotlight as one of the frontrunners in the race to find an effective shot for COVID-19.

“Looking ahead, while we continue to anticipate variations in quarterly performance, the continuation of our strategy makes us confident about the future,” said Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AZ.

“We are retaining our full-year guidance that is underpinned by the focus on commercial execution and an exciting pipeline of new medicines,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

30th July 2020

From: Sales



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