AstraZeneca targets 2024 growth as portfolio booms, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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London: AstraZeneca expects to boost revenue and profit this year on the back of resilient demand for its cancer and rare disease drugs, the company said on Thursday after reporting slightly lower than expected fourth-quarter profit.

In almost a decade since AstraZeneca fended off a takeover by U.S. rival Pfizer, CEO Pascal Soriot has rebuilt the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker’s pipeline, including blockbusters such as lung cancer drug Tagrisso, leukaemia drug Calquence and Farxiga for diabetes.

AstraZeneca’s RSV shot, co-developed with Sanofi, is also a break from its oncology expertise. Its diversification gathered pace with several acquisitions in 2023 and a licensing deal in November that took it into the booming anti-obesity drug market.

Tagrisso sales grew 9 per cent last year while revenue from Imfinzi, another cancer drug, jumped 55 per cent and Calquence sales rose by 23 per cent.

The London-listed company said it expects total revenue and core earnings per share (EPS) to increase by percentages in the low teens this year.

Though the drugmaker reported slightly better than expected fourth-quarter revenue, profit was short of analyst estimates, hurt by a step up in R&D investment and price reductions for some medicines in emerging markets.

That sent shares of the FTSE 100 constituent down 1.5 per cent in early trade.

“We expect another year of strong growth in 2024, driven by continued adoption of our medicines across geographies,” Soriot said.

AstraZeneca is also viewed as a bellwether for China’s pharmaceuticals sector, given its strong presence in the region. Revenue in China ticked up 16 per cent in the final quarter of 2023 to $1.38 billion.

JP Morgan analysts said the strong outlook should dispel concerns among some observers about slowing growth.

Other analysts, including those at Citi and Jefferies, flagged some potential issues for 2024, including fewer than normal major research and development updates expected from the drugmaker.

“We have some longer-term concerns over the therapeutic diversification within the company, however strong the underlying talent and science,” Citi said in a note.

  • Published On Feb 8, 2024 at 05:06 PM IST

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