| 6 December 2023, Wednesday |

AstraZeneca tops quarterly estimates buoyed by cancer drugs

AstraZeneca raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast on Thursday after third-quarter profit and revenue exceeded analysts’ expectations, thanks to sales of its key cancer drugs.

Cancer drugs accounted for nearly 36% of AstraZeneca’s total product sales last year, accounting for nearly 36% of the London-listed drugmaker’s total product sales.

Sales of AstraZeneca’s key cancer medicines — Tagrisso and Imfinzi — helped the company’s quarterly revenue beat, with sales of its broader oncology portfolio rising 24%.

Tagrisso generated nearly $1.4 billion, Imfinzi brought in $737 million in the quarter. Cowen analysts had forecast their sales at about $1.35 billion and $725 million, respectively.

Label expansions for a handful of cancer drugs – Tagrisso, Imfinzi, Lynparza and Enhertu – have driven prescription growth, noted Citeline analyst Zhyar Said.

AstraZeneca now expects its full year adjusted profit per share to increase by a “high twenties to low thirties percentage”. Previously, it had forecast a 2022 gain in the “mid-to-high twenties percentage”.

The London-listed drugmaker’s shares rose nearly 2% in early trading.


The company said it generated $10.98 billion total revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 on a constant-currency basis, while core earnings came in at $1.67 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting profit of $1.52 cents per share on revenue of around $10.73 billion, based on Refinitiv data.

“Whilst some of the other key players in the COVID-19 market started to show a decline in momentum, AstraZeneca’s diversified portfolio…has allowed them to stay on top and not be affected by the reduced global uptake of vaccines,” Said added.

The Anglo-Swedish company produced one of the first COVID-19 shots, but lost out to makers of mRNA shots Pfizer and Moderna.

Earlier this month, Pfizer said sales of its COVID vaccine – developed with BioNTech – were down from pandemic highs as many countries have neared the end of their primary vaccination campaigns. There are also concerns about soft demand for newly updated booster shots.

In the quarter, AstraZeneca’s COVID shot generated $180 million in sales, compared to more than $1 billion over the same period a year earlier.

Like Swiss peer Novartis, AstraZeneca reports its results in dollars. Novartis in late October said a strong U.S. currency was a drag on the value of its quarterly sales generated outside the United States.

AstraZeneca on Thursday said its anticipated 2022 revenue growth would be impacted by a currency headwind of a “mid single-digit percentage”.

Core earnings per share for the year will also be negatively affected by “mid-to-high single-digit percentage”, it added.

  • Reuters