AstraZeneca Sees $4B In COVID-19 Vaccine Sales

AstraZeneca recorded a big jump in revenue on Thursday as it begins to take a profit from its coronavirus vaccine for the first time.

The company recorded full-year revenues of $37.4 billion, an increase of 38% from the year before at constant exchange rates. Part of the boost came from $4 billion in sales of its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford.

Despite rising revenue, AstraZeneca reported a pre-tax loss of $265 million due to costs from its purchase of U.S. drug company Alexion Pharmaceuticals and new drug research.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said in November it would begin to take a “modest” profit from the COVID-19 shot, which it had been providing “at cost” — around $2 to $3 —following an agreement with Oxford. Other COVID-19 vaccine producers, such as Pfizer and Moderna, have been booking hefty profits on their shots all along.

Dr Tamara Joffe administer a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Mustafa Field of the Faiths Forum, during a pilot project of pop up vaccination drive called Vaxi Taxi in Kilburn, London, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021.  (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

In the three months to September, the company said revenue jumped by about 50%, to a record $9.9 billion. The increase was due to sales of more than $1 billion in COVID-19 vaccines and the inclusion for the first time of some $1.3 billion worth of revenue from its rare disease business unit following the recent acquisition of Alexion.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AZN ASTRAZENECA PLC 59.24 +2.04 +3.58%

AstraZeneca forecast total group sales to rise by a “high teens percentage” in 2022, but said COVID-19 revenues would decline by a “a low-to-mid twenties percentage.”

Chief executive Pascal Soriot said AstraZeneca had “delivered on our promise of broad and equitable access to our COVID-19 vaccine with 2.5 billion doses released for supply around the world.”

“AstraZeneca continued on its strong growth trajectory in 2021, with industry-leading R&D (research and development) productivity, five of our medicines crossing new blockbuster thresholds, and the acquisition and integration of Alexion,” he said.

Soriot said the company would raise the dividend to shareholders by 10 cents to $2.90, the first increase in a decade.

AstraZeneca shares were trading about 3% higher at 8.62 pounds ($11.68) on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

Source: AstraZeneca sees $4B in COVID-19 vaccine sales | Fox Business

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Critics:

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) said it would begin to earn a modest profit from its coronavirus vaccine as the world learns to live with the virus and the drugmaker is in talks with several countries about new orders for delivery next year.

AstraZeneca made a commitment to sell the shot developed with Oxford University at cost during the pandemic and in a press conference on Friday said low-income nations would continue to receive the vaccine on a no-profit basis, while a post-pandemic commercial approach would apply to other new orders even as infections in Europe rise again. read more

The Anglo-Swedish company’s third-quarter results showed the vaccine contributed one cent to core earnings per share of $1.08, a rise of 14%. Total product sales jumped 49% to $9.74 billion, as its vaccine sales topped $1 billion.

“We started this project to help … but we also said that at some stage in the future, we will transition to commercial orders,” Chief Executive Pascal Soriot told journalists.”It will never be high priced. Because we want the vaccine to remain affordable to everybody around the world,” he added.

Soriot, a French national, said the virus was becoming endemic, a term for a background level of infections that is part of everyday life.Talks about new orders with undisclosed countries were underway, mainly for delivery next year, with some prospective customers focusing on booster shots, Soriot said.

AstraZeneca unveiled plans this week to set up a separate unit to focus on its coronavirus efforts and other respiratory infections. It said on Friday the unit would independently manage production and distribution. read more

Shares of the FTSE 100 (.FTSE) drugmaker were down 3.4% at about 91.22 pounds at 1209 GMT as overall third-quarter profit fell short of analysts’ expectations.

There were strong performances of core products like kidney disease treatment Farxiga and established asthma drug Symbicort, and from the addition of rare-disease specialist Alexion from July 21, thanks to last year’s $39 billion takeover deal.

However, integration costs related to that deal ate into profits, as did a $1.2 billion writedown for an experimental kidney disease drug AstraZeneca acquired in 2012, with overall expenses also rising on investments into the drug pipeline.

Top selling drug Tagrisso for lung cancer also posted lower-than-expected growth in sales due to price cuts in China. AstraZeneca said a profit boost from the vaccine in the fourth quarter would make up for costs related to its antibody cocktail for preventing and treating COVID-19, as it stuck with its earnings forecast for the year.

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