AstraZeneca lifts revenue guidance on COVID treatment – SABC News

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) said it expected prescriptions for its COVID therapy to drive sales growth of more than 20% this year as the company reported second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates. .

The injection, called Evusheld, which is designed to protect against COVID infection for at least six months, has been rolled out in many countries for people with weakened immune systems who see little or no benefits of vaccines.

The long-acting antibody therapy, launched in December last year, generated sales of $445 million in the quarter.

“Real-world evidence has shown that 30% to 40% of COVID hospitalizations are in immunocompromised patients, so there’s a real need for Evusheld right now,” chief financial officer Aradhana Sarin told Reuters.

The London-listed company raised its revenue forecast for the full year, saying it expects it to rise by a percentage in the ‘low twenties’ rather than the projected ‘high years’ previously.

It kept unchanged its forecast for an adjusted earnings-per-share gain in the “mid-to-high 20s percentage,” in part because of a larger budget for drug research and development and for marketing and marketing. distribution of Evusheld.

The company has also felt the impact of inflation with distribution costs like freight rates rising more than 30%, chief financial officer Sarin told a press briefing.

Analysts at brokerages Jefferies and JPMorgan said investors were unlikely to be impressed by the earnings outlook and its shares fell 3.1% and 2% at 09:30 GMT, underperforming the STOXX index. Europe 600 Health Care (.SXDP) which slipped 0.3%.

Second-quarter adjusted earnings nearly doubled to 1.72 cents per share for the three months ended June 30, on revenue of about $10.8 billion, up 31%. Analysts on average had expected earnings of 1.56 cents per share on revenue of about $10.5 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

On Friday, the company also announced that Michel Demaré will succeed non-executive chairman Leif Johansson when he retires next year. Demaré is currently Chairman of AstraZeneca’s Compensation Committee.

Johansson became chairman in 2012, around the same time Frenchman Pascal Soriot took over as chief executive.

The move rules out Soriot, who fended off a takeover bid from Pfizer in 2014, as a presidential candidate.

As former chairman of Syngenta, Demaré in 2015 led the successful defense of the Swiss agricultural chemical maker against an unwanted takeover approach by US rival Monsanto, which culminated in the agreed acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina.

AstraZeneca said it expects increased sales of Evusheld to offset declining sales of its COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria, developed with the University of Oxford, in the face of growing competition.

The company previously expected Evusheld’s growth would not offset Vaxzevria’s declining sales.

Sales in the key China market, which accounted for nearly a fifth of sales last year, fell 6% to $1.44 billion due to lower prices and COVID lockdown measures preventing some patients to seek cancer treatment.

Astra’s best-selling product, Tagrisso for lung cancer, saw a quarterly revenue increase of 7% to $1.4 billion, while sales of cardiovascular and diabetes treatment Farxiga jumped 51 % to $1.1 billion in the quarter, both slightly above market expectations.