AstraZeneca targets annual sales of over $45 billion by 2023

AstraZeneca on Tuesday said that it expects "strong and consistent" revenue growth between 2017 and 2023, with sales of more than $45 billion by the end of the period. The company added that growth in core earnings per share is expected to exceed revenue growth during this period.

CEO Pascal Soriot commented "AstraZeneca is completing its transformation, and now has the right size, focus and team to deliver on one of the most exciting pipelines in the pharmaceutical industry." The drugmaker reaffirmed that sales in 2017 should be broadly in line with last year, when they reached $25.7 billion. AstraZeneca is looking for its five key growth platforms, as well as pipeline drugs, to help offset patent expiries to core products.

AstraZeneca said Tuesday that it is targeting Brilinta sales of around $3.5 billion in 2023, with revenue from its diabetes portfolio of about $8 billion, boosted by the recent acquisition of its joint venture with Bristol-Myers Squibb. In addition, sales of respiratory products are expected to reach approximately $8 billion by 2023. The company added that sales in emerging markets are targeted to grow in the mid-to-high single digits, with revenue in Japan increasing in the low single digits.

According to AstraZeneca, its pipeline, which includes potential therapies for cancer, asthma and diabetes, could generate sales of between $23 billion to $63 billion, depending on the proportion of drugs that receive regulatory approval. Soriot said that the pipeline was "underappreciated," highlighting 11 drugs in the late-stage development and a "very strong oncology franchise." The company added that revenue from its experimental cancer drug MEDI4736 could reach around $6.5 billion.

Chairman Leif Johansson remarked "the increasingly visible success of our independent strategy highlights the future prospects for our shareholders," adding "these are benefits that should fully accrue to AstraZeneca's shareholders." AstraZeneca recently rejected an improved takeover offer from Pfizer worth around 63 billion pounds ($107 billion), saying that the bid was "inadequate" and "substantially" undervalued the company. At the time, Johansson highlighted the drugmaker's "exciting, rapidly progressing pipeline."

In response to AstraZeneca's long-term guidance, analysts at Jefferies said that the forecasts appeared "overly optimistic," particularly with regard to the updated targets for the five growth areas.

For related analysis, read ViewPoints: AstraZeneca and Pfizer both play the R&D card as acquisition chase hots up and ViewPoints: Where next for AstraZeneca?

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