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AZ is expecting late-stage COVID-19 vaccine data this year

Company reiterated timeline in third quarter results

AstraZeneca (AZ) is expecting results from late-stage trials of its Oxford University-partnered COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222 this year, the company revealed in its third quarter results.

Yesterday (Wednesday 4 November), the chief investigator of the AZ/Oxford vaccine trial said that there is a ‘small chance’ that AZD1222 could be delivered in the UK before Christmas.

Andrew Pollard made the comments at a parliamentary Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee meeting, adding that he is "optimistic’ that AZD1222 data will be available ‘before the end of the year".

When questioned about timelines for regulatory review and distribution, however, Pollard said the timings for both processes are "not entirely clear to me at the moment".

AZ reiterated the aim for a data readout later this year in its Q3 results released today, although the company also said that this timeline depends on the rate of infection within communities where the trials are being conducted.

In October, AZ announced data on the immunogenicity and safety of AZD1222 in older adults, saying that the vaccine induced a similar level of responses between older and younger adults.

Older adults have more risk factors associated with developing severe symptoms from infectious disease (like COVID-19) because the immune system gradually deteriorates as individuals age.

In addition to the promising immune response in older adults, AZ also said that adverse responses were lower among the elderly, according to Reuters.

Elsewhere in AZ’s Q3 results, the British drugmaker beat sales estimates as demand for its broad range of treatments remained strong.

Total revenue from its product sales climbed by 7% to $6.52bn in the third quarter, excluding revenue from collaborations.

For the year to date, AZ’s oncology franchise has grown by 24% to $8.18bn, driven by strong growth of its EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor Tagrisso (Osimertinib) and immunotherapy Imfinzi (durvalumab), among others.

In the third quarter, sales from its respiratory and immunology business declined by 12% to $1.165bn, as a result of ‘particular challenges’ for its Pulmicort (budesonide) inhaler in China, according to AZ.

AZ also maintained its 2020 forecasts, expecting total revenue to increase by a high single-digit to a low double-digit percentage, forecasting core earnings per share to increase by a mid- to high-teens percentage.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

5th November 2020

From: Research

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