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AstraZeneca’s new medicines represent half of its global revenue in first half of 2020

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AstraZeneca grew its revenue and profits in the first half of this year, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A strong performance from its new medicines, particularly in emerging markets, was key to the success.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca
Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca

On a constant exchange rate (CER) basis, total revenue grew by 14 per cent to $12,629million in the first six months of 2020, with all three of its therapy areas showing gains.

Its oncology medicines revenues grew 31 per cent to $5324m, while its new cardiovascular, renal and metabolism business was up 11 per cent to $2,265m. Its respiratory and immunology therapy area rose 7 per cent to $2,676m, despite a drop in the second quarter due to Covid-19 impacting on sales of its asthma and COPD medicine Pulmicort in China.

On a CER basis, revenue from new medicines improved by 45 per cent at a constant currency basis to $6,353m and was up by 79 per cent in emerging markets to $1,406m.

The performance meant AstraZeneca’s new medicines - which include cancer drugs Tagrisso, Imfinzi and Lynparza and asthma drug Fasenra among others - represented half of global revenue, compared to 40 per cent in the first half of 2019.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca is working with Oxford University on its potential Covid-19 vaccine, and is progressing work on new antibody treatments and trials of existing medicines to fight the virus.

CEO Pascal Soriot said: “I want to thank my colleagues around the world for producing a strong performance in the first half of the year, delivering further revenue growth and another step forward in profitability and cash generation.

“I was particularly pleased with the robust growth in emerging markets and the success of our new medicines. We made further progress with our pipeline, highlighted by the overwhelming success of Tagrisso in the ADAURA trial and with Farxiga, which expanded its potential beyond diabetes. We are also pleased with our new collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo on DS-1062, which strengthens our growing oncology portfolio.

“Furthermore, our company has mounted a significant response to Covid-19, with capacity to deliver over two billion doses of AZD1222, the accelerated development of our monoclonal antibodies and new trials for the use of Calquence and Farxiga to treat patients affected by the virus.

“Looking ahead, while we continue to anticipate variations in quarterly performance, the continuation of our strategy makes us confident about the future. We are retaining our full-year guidance that is underpinned by the focus on commercial execution and an exciting pipeline of new medicines.”

AstraZeneca recorded growth in all geographic areas. Emerging markets grew 15 per cent on a CER basis, with China up 14 per cent and the US up 13 per cent. Revenue grew 20 per cent in Europe.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso (osimertinib) was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation in the US for the adjuvant treatment of patients with early-stage epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated (EGFRm) non-small cell lung cancer after complete tumour resection with curative intent. The designation, which is designed to speed up drug reviews, came after a trial showed it reduced the risk of disease recurrence or death by around. 80 per cent.

AstraZeneca also reported that a phase IIb trial has shown Nirsevimab leads to a significant reduction in medically-attended lower respiratory tract infections and hospitalisations caused by respiratory syncytial virus in healthy pre-term infants.

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