AstraZeneca's product sales dip 3 percent in third quarter, as generic impact on Crestor, Seroquel recedes

AstraZeneca announced Thursday that third-quarter product sales slipped 3 percent year-over-year to $4.9 billion, versus 11 percent for the first half of the year, as the pace of decline slowed due to the "receding effects" of the Crestor and Seroquel XR losses of exclusivity in the US. Overall revenue rose 9 percent to $6.2 billion, topping analyst expectations of around $6 billion, boosted by a $997-million payment from Merck & Co. related to a cancer drug deal signed in July.

CEO Pascal Soriot remarked "our financial performance in the quarter was in line with expectations…including strong growth in emerging markets with standout sales in China." According to AstraZeneca, sales from its growth platforms lifted 5 percent in the three-month period to $3.8 billion, with revenue in emerging markets climbing 9 percent to $1.5 billion. Meanwhile, sales in China jumped 12 percent to $723 million.

The company noted that sales from new oncology medicines jumped 72 percent year-on-year to $339 million, led by growth from Tagrisso, which was up 86 percent at $248 million. For other products, quarterly revenue from Farxiga lifted 30 percent to $285 million, with sales of Brilinta climbing 37 percent to $284 million.

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AstraZeneca added that sales of Crestor declined 16 percent year-over-year to $580 million, with revenue from Seroquel XR plunging 67 percent to $62 million. Meanwhile, the drugmaker said that externalisation revenue was flat at $1.4 billion, while profit slipped 35 percent to $649 million.

For the full year, AstraZeneca said it now expects its core earnings per shares performance to be "towards the favourable end of the guidance range of a low to mid teens percentage decline."

In July, AstraZeneca announced results from the Phase III MYSTIC study, showing that the combination of Imfinzi and tremelimumab failed to improve progression-free survival in previously-untreated patients with metastatic first-line non-small-cell lung cancer, sending the company's shares down as much as 16 percent. However, since then company has reported positive data from studies of Tagrisso and Imfinzi in lung cancer, as well as recently gaining FDA approval for Calquence for the treatment of adults with mantle cell lymphoma.

Soriot commented "the positive developments for Tagrisso and Imfinzi in lung cancer and benralizumab and tezepelumab in asthma offset the disappointment of the first read out from the MYSTIC trial." The executive added "the accelerated approval for Calquence…was an important milestone for a medicine that will be the cornerstone of our presence in blood cancers." Soriot said "this impressive momentum is set to continue with regulatory and data milestones that have the potential to show how our science-led strategy and pipeline-driven transformation are delivering for patients and shareholders."

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: AstraZeneca's Calquence kicks off the charge against Imbruvica.

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