AstraZeneca second-quarter earnings exceeded expectations.


AstraZeneca second-quarter earnings exceeded expectations.

AstraZeneca (London Stock Exchange ticker: AZN) delivered better-than-expected profit and sales for the second quarter, bolstered by the strong performance of its bestselling cancer drugs, which helped offset losses from declining COVID-19 vaccine sales.

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company reported an adjusted earning per share of $2.15, a 25% increase, surpassing the estimated $1.98 per share.

Total revenue for the second quarter was $11.4 billion, up 6%, exceeding analysts' forecasts of $10.97 billion.

The stock rose 3.1% in early morning trading, making it one of the biggest gainers on the London FTSE 100 Index.

Thanks to a strong lineup of drug products, this robust performance further strengthened the momentum of the UK's largest company by market capitalization, valued at over 165 billion pounds ($211 billion).

Compared to the same period last year's $445 million, this year the company's COVID-19 vaccine sales were zero, whereas at the peak of the pandemic, this product was the best-selling product of 2021.

Compared to competitor vaccines produced by Pfizer (New York Stock Exchange ticker: PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ ticker: MRNA), this pharmaceutical company was one of the earliest to develop an antiviral vaccine in 2020.

"Apart from the COVID-19 vaccine, we achieved double-digit growth in all other areas, with eight drugs generating revenue of over $1 billion in the first half of the year, demonstrating the strength of our business," said CEO Pascal Soriot.

Excluding COVID-19 drugs, the company's China sales increased by 7% on a constant currency basis during the second quarter, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of growth.

The company has also raised its performance expectations for China, forecasting a low to mid-single-digit percentage increase in total revenue for 2023, compared to the previously anticipated low single-digit growth.

AstraZeneca (NASDAQ ticker: AZN) is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the Chinese market, with China accounting for 13% of its total revenue last year.

Prior to this earnings announcement, the company had earlier this month released mid-stage data for an experimental precision medicine named datopotamab deruxtecan, which disappointed investors.

The company stated that it plans to continue submitting trial data to US regulatory authorities to alleviate some investor concerns.

Additionally, the company announced that its subsidiary Alexion (NASDAQ ticker: ALXN) has agreed to purchase an early-stage rare disease gene therapy portfolio from the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer for up to $1 billion plus sales royalties, to enhance its genomics medicine capabilities.

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