AstraZeneca forecasts profit rise

AstraZeneca announced on Thursday that it anticipated a rise in this year’s revenue and profit due to strong demand for its cancer and rare disease drugs.

Despite a slightly lower fourth-quarter profit than expected, Since AstraZeneca successfully resisted a takeover attempt by Pfizer nearly a decade ago, CEO Pascal Soriot has revitalised the company’s drug pipeline.

This includes blockbuster drugs like Tagrisso for lung cancer, Calquence for leukaemia, and Farxiga for diabetes.

AstraZeneca, in collaboration with Sanofi, has expanded beyond its oncology focus with a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) shot.

The company accelerated its diversification with multiple acquisitions in 2023 and a licencing agreement in November that propelled it into the thriving anti-obesity drug market.

Sales of Tagrisso, increased by 9 per cent last year, while revenue from another cancer drug, Imfinzi, surged by 55 per cent, and sales of Calquence rose by 23 per cent.

AstraZeneca, which is listed in London, anticipates that its total revenue and core earnings per share (EPS) will grow by low-teen percentages this year.

The drugmaker’s fourth-quarter revenue slightly exceeded expectations, but profit fell short of analyst predictions. This shortfall resulted from increased investment in research and development (R&D) and price cuts for certain drugs in emerging markets.

AstraZeneca, with its significant regional presence, serves as a benchmark for China’s pharmaceutical industry.

In the last quarter of 2023, the company’s revenue in China increased by 16 per cent to $1.38 billion. J.P. Morgan analysts noted that this robust outlook should counter concerns about slowing growth and receive a positive response.

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