AstraZeneca tops forecasts on strong drug sales, outlook unchanged

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July 30, 2020

(Reuters) – British drugmaker AstraZeneca <AZN.L> topped second-quarter sales and profit estimates on Thursday and backed its 2020 forecasts, helped by strong sales in lockdowns of a diverse product range that now includes a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Chief Executive Pascal Soriot has driven a change in the company’s fortunes by investing in varied products and betting on newer medicines, which jolted the drugmaker onto the global stage.

Shares of Britain’s most valuable listed company are seen rising 1-2% in London, according to a premarket indicator.

The company reiterated it was on track with late-stage trials for its coronavirus vaccine. “Our company has mounted a significant response to COVID-19, with capacity to deliver over two billion doses of AZD1222,” Soriot said.

Product sales, which exclude payments from tie-ups, rose 9% to $6.05 billion in the three months ended June 30 on a constant-currency basis, surpassing analysts’ consensus of $6.01 billion.

Newer drugs for diabetes, heart conditions and cancer, including its top selling lung cancer drug Tagrisso, performed well in the quarter and AstraZeneca remains on track for a third consecutive year of growth in sales.

Core earnings stood at 96 cents per share versus analysts’ estimate of 93 cents. Total revenue rose 11%, AstraZeneca said.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka, Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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