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AstraZeneca reports ‘strong’ Q1 results, forecasts accelerated growth in 2021

Company is ‘well-positioned for a high growth year’, according to analyst

AstraZeneca has reported ‘solid’ first quarter results, as sales of its COVID-19 vaccine take off and the company’s oncology drugs deliver strong growth.

Overall, the British drugmaker saw an increase in product sales of 15% to $7.25bn, with core earnings per share jumping by 55% to $1.63.

Out of those sales, new medicines represented 53% of total revenue globally, compared to 47% in the same period last year.

Growth for its oncology drugs also increased by 20% to $3bn, while its new cardiovascular, renal and metabolism (CVRM) products grew by 19% to just over $1bn.

AZ reported an increase in emerging market sales of 14%, with China growth of 19% and total revenue in the US increasing by 10% and in Europe by 28%.

Sales of its Oxford University-partnered COVID-19 vaccine amounted to $275m in the first quarter, with AZ reiterating that it is on track to deliver 200 million doses per month from April.

While AZ’s full year guidance excludes any revenue or profit impact from sales of its COVID-19 vaccine, the company is still expecting total revenue to increase by a low-teens percentage.

AZ has also excluded its proposed acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals from this guidance, adding in the Q1 results that Alexion will become its rare disease unit and an ‘area of expertise’.

“Given the performance in the first quarter, in line with our expectations, we reiterate our full-year guidance. We expect the impact of COVID-19 to reduce and anticipate a performance acceleration in the second half of 2021,” said Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AZ.

“Sustained pipeline progress and accelerating business performance underlines our commitment to patients and delivering our growth potential, which will be further complemented by the proposed acquisition of Alexion,” he added.

Commenting on AZ’s Q1 results, Edison Group’s director of research Neil Shah said: “With worldwide inoculations likely to accelerate over the next few months, signs for AstraZeneca are positive. As the impact of the pandemic begins to dissipate, the company anticipates an acceleration of performance for the second half of 2021.”

“Having delivered one of the most important vaccines in human history, it is no surprise that the company has delivered such a solid set of results. In addition, with non-COVID medication making up a significant portion of this growth, the company is well-positioned for a high-growth year as 2021 continues,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

30th April 2021

From: Sales

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