AstraZeneca maintains full-year guidance as Q1 product sales climb 15%

Headline results for the first quarter:

Product sales

$6.3 billion (forecasts of $5.9 billion)

+15%

Revenue

$6.4 billion

+16%

Profit

$935 million

+23%

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

"Our focus ensured another quarter of strong growth across every therapy area and region," remarked CEO Pascal Soriot, adding that "new medicines performed extremely well."

AstraZeneca noted that the COVID-19 pandemic boosted revenue in the quarter by a low-to-mid single-digit percentage due to "short-term inventory increases in the distribution channel, longer prescriptions and improved treatment-regimen adherence by patients. The company indicated that "this benefit is anticipated to reverse in the coming months."

Other results:

  • Oncology product sales:  $2.5 billion, up 33%
    • Tagrisso: $982 million, up 56%, boosted by regulatory approvals and reimbursements for the first-line treatment of patients with EGFR mutated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
    • Imfinzi: $462 million, up 57%, driven by use for the treatment of unresectable, Stage III NSCLC
    • Lynparza: $397 million, up 67%, with the "strong performance" geographically spread
    • Faslodex: $166 million, down 35%, slipping 83% in the US to $23 million as a result of  the  launch  of  multiple  generic versions
    • Iressa: $77 million, down 42%, with sales in China hit by the drug's inclusion on the volume-based procurement programme
    • Calquence: $88 million, up 202%, with the overwhelming majority of sales in the US
  • Cardiovascular, renal and metabolic disease product sales:  $1.7 billion, down 1%
    • Brilinta: $408 million, up 17%, benefiting from continued patient uptake in the treatment of acute coronary syndrome and high-risk post-myocardial infarction
    • Farxiga: $407 million, up 16%, with 40% growth in emerging  markets to $141 million and 30% in Europe to $116 million
    • Crestor: $302 million, down 10%, with sales in China adversely impacted by the country's volume-based procurement programme
  • Respiratory and immunology product sales:  $1.6 billion, up 21%
    • Symbicort: $790 million, up 35%, boosted by the launch of an authorised generic version in collaboration with Prasco in the US, where sales lifted 76% to $310 million
    • Pulmicort: $380 million, down 1%
    • Fasenra: $199 million, up 54%, with sales in Europe jumping 154% to $46 million, reflecting a number of successful launches
  • Nexium: $348 million, down 6%
  • Emerging market sales: $2.3 billion, up 13%, with sales in China climbing 14% to $1.4 billion,  mainly driven by Tagrisso, Lynparza, Brilinta and Farxiga
  • Collaboration revenue: $43 million, up 69%

Looking ahead:

AstraZeneca reaffirmed that it expects annual revenue to increase by a high single-digit to a low double-digit percentage, while core earnings per share are predicted to grow by a mid- to high-teens percentage. However, the company noted that the guidance assumes that the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic only "lasts for several more months."

Pipeline updates:

The drugmaker said that "having assessed the COVID-19 impact across the pipeline, [it] does not expect material delays to anticipated dates of late-stage and lifecycle-management news flow in 2020 and 2021."

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