UK Drugmaker AstraZeneca Logs Soaring Profit

Robust sales of cancer treatments, offsetting a slump in demand for Covid-related treatments, helped also to boost profits after tax.


In this file photo taken on March 12, 2021 shows empty vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center at the UBO (Universite Bretagne Occidentale) in Brest, western France. The Netherlands suspends the use of AstraZeneca vaccine on March 14, 2021. Fred TANNEAU / AFP

 

 

British drugmaker AstraZeneca on Thursday posted soaring net profit in the first quarter as significant one-off costs were not repeated.

Robust sales of cancer treatments, offsetting a slump in demand for Covid-related treatments, helped also to boost profits after tax.

Net earnings leapt almost five-fold to $1.8 billion (1.6 billion euros) in the three months to the end of March compared with the first quarter of last year, helped also by emerging markets.

AstraZeneca had been hit by vast restructuring and legal charges at the start of 2022, linked to its $39-billion mega-takeover of US biotech firm Alexion.

This time around, first-quarter turnover fell four percent to $10.9 billion on tumbling sales of Covid treatments, in particular vaccine Vaxzevria which will create “minimal” revenue this year.

Stripping out Covid-related sales, turnover leapt 10 percent to $10.7 billion, with cancer treatment sales up 14 percent.

“AstraZeneca had a strong start to 2023,” group chief executive Pascal Soriot said in the earnings statement.

“Our performance in emerging markets was particularly strong and I am impressed by the growth and pace of innovation I see in China.”

The results sent its share price up nearly one percent to around £12 in morning deals on London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was down overall.