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AZ reports growth again in Q3, driven by oncology and China sales

Company has also returned to growth in Europe

AZ building

AstraZeneca has raised its full-year sales prediction for the second consecutive quarter, with product sales rising for the fifth successive quarter following a growth of 18% at constant exchange rates to an impressive $6.1bn in Q3. 

This was driven by a strong growth of AZ’s oncology medicines, which saw a 48% growth to $2.3bn. Overall, sales growth in this area to date have reached 54%, driven by Tagrisso, Imfinzi and Lynparza.

Its Merck & Co-partnered PARP inhibitor Lynparza, which AZ recently flaunted at ESMO 2019, has reported an impressive growth of 98% to $847m, driven by an 86% increase in the US and a 227% increase in emerging markets. Lynparza is currently the lead in the PARP inhibitor class, but is facing increasing competition from rival Zejula from GlaxoSmithKline in ovarian and prostate cancer.

Its cardiovascular, renal and metabolism (CVRM) franchise was also up 11% to $1.1bn, with growth in sales of Brilinta and Farxiga paving the way.

In particular, Farxiga has been making waves as AZ has continued to add on extra indications for the SGLT2 inhibitor as it stakes a bigger claim in heart failure, including a recent first-in-class approval in heart failure prevention.

AZ’s respiratory franchise also grew 18% to $1.3bn – although the company saw a 4% decline in sales of Symbicort, this was offset by the growth of Pulmicort and Fasenra, and also a growth of these medicines in emerging markets.

The London-listed drugmaker also reported strong growth in emerging markets, especially China, where it saw a sales growth of 40% to $1.2bn. In China, AZ reported oncology sales growth of 67% to $1bn and new CVRM growth of 88% to $359m. It also reported a return to growth of its Europe sales, which were up 1% to $1.1bn.

The company has now forecast its product sales to increase by a low-to-mid-teens percentage, up from a low double-digit percentage increase.

“With AstraZeneca growing at pace, our sales guidance has been upgraded for the second consecutive quarter. Another strong performance from our new medicines accompanied impressive results in our key markets, most notably in China, the US and Japan. The performance reinforces our confidence in delivering sustainable earnings growth,” said Pascal Soriot (pictured below), AZ’s chief executive officer.

ps

Pascal Soriot, AZ's CEO


“We delivered further positive news for patients. Lynparza demonstrated its potential as a treatment for prostate cancer and as an expanded treatment for ovarian cancer. Tagrisso, Imfinzi and PT010 also had positive data, and we delivered breakthrough data in heart failure for Farxiga,” he added.

AZ’s renewed pipeline and new launches had led the company to a return to growth for the first time last year since 2014, with core earnings per share in this quarter reaching $0.99 compared to market expectations of $0.96.

Shares in the company were up 3% following the announcement of the third quarter earning results.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

24th October 2019

From: Sales

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