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AstraZeneca share price rises as Q4 earnings surpass expectations

AstraZeneca profits double to $3.2bn

AstraZeneca, the British maker of one of the coronavirus vaccines, announced its profits doubled to $3.2bn on Thursday on account of strong sales of other medicines. 

Q4 earnings more than tripled following a robust performance by its cancer drugs, surpassing the company’s expectations. Drug sales rose by 11% to $7.41bn. 

AstraZeneca’s share price jumped by nearly 2%  to 7,386p in mid-morning trade on Thursday following news of the company’s end of year results. Astrazeneca had a closing low of 6,227p on 16 March 2020 following the sell-off due to coronavirus.

Sebastian Skeet, senior analyst at Thirdbridge, praised AstraZaneca’s performance throughout the pandemic. 

“The company is arguably the poster child for big pharma turnarounds, with CEO Pascal Soriot rebuilding the pipeline and establishing the necessary growth drivers. This is exemplified by AstraZeneca’s recent performance. which demonstrated double digit revenue growth, improved profitability and core EPS growth of 18% at constant exchange rates.”

AstraZeneca’s financial report does not include revenue generated by its Covid-19 vaccine which it has committed to supply on a not-for-profit basis throughout the pandemic. The company will be reporting its sales figures separately at the beginning of Q2.   

AstraZeneca also announced it would be speeding up its process of developing a vaccine adapted to the new variants of Covid-19. 

Pascal Soriot, chief executive of Astrazeneca, outlined the various challenges faced by the company during the past year. 

“The performance last year marked a significant step forward for AstraZeneca. Despite the significant impact from the pandemic, we delivered double-digit revenue growth to leverage improved profitability and cash generation,” said Soirot. 

“The consistent achievements in the pipeline, the accelerating performance of our business and the progress of the COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated what we can achieve, while the proposed acquisition of Alexion is intended to accelerate our scientific and commercial evolution even further.” 

While the world’s eyes remain glued to updates on vaccines, Astrazeneca has been making strides in new geographical and healthcare markets. 

“Additional investment in new medicines continued to fuel our rapidly growing oncology and biopharmaceuticals therapy areas. Tagrisso‘s future was enhanced with its first regulatory approval in early, potentially-curable lung cancer and further national reimbursement in China in advanced disease,” said Pascal Soirot. 

“Farxiga again expanded its potential beyond diabetes, while tezepelumab promised real hope for patients suffering from severe asthma. Thanks to the focus on an industry-leading pipeline and consistent execution, I am confident that we will continue to deliver more progress for patients and sustained, compelling results.”

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