3:40 PM
 | 
Nov 08, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Company News

AZ looks to new medicines to drive growth

AstraZeneca plc (LSE:AZN; NYSE:AZN) said Thursday it will look to 10 new drugs to support a return to growth. The pharma reported 3Q18 product sales of $5.3 billion, up 9% at constant exchange rates from 3Q17 and driven by an 86% increase in new medicines and a 16% increase in emerging markets. It is the first time in three quarters that AstraZeneca reported year-over-year product sales growth at constant exchange rates; the Street was expecting 3Q18 product sales of $5.1 billion.

AZ gained 236p to 6,093p in London and $1.44 to $40.65 in New York on Thursday.

The highlighted 10 therapies include cancer drugs Tagrisso osimertinib, Imfinzi durvalumab and Lynparza olaparib; diabetes drug Farxiga dapagliflozin; and asthma drug Fasenra benralizumab. Of the 10, only three -- Farxiga, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) drug Bevespi Aerosphere glycopyrronium/formoterol and acute coronary syndrome (ACS) drug Brilinta ticagrelor -- were launched before 3Q17.

Separately, in an interview with Bloomberg, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said the rest of the world is "benefiting from the investment the U.S. has been willing to make" in cancer drug innovation. According to Soriot, drug prices in the U.S. need to be slightly lower and slightly higher in Europe, adding that such an adjustment is “probably unlikely.” Soriot said that "Japanese prices are a good benchmark."

Total revenues for the quarter were $5.34 billion, down 13% at constant rates but ahead of the Street's estimate of $5.28 billion. 3Q18 core EPS fell 33% to $0.71, just ahead of the consensus estimate of $0.70.

Consensus figures provided by FactSet.

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