Economy

AstraZeneca ups earnings target as cancer partnership Lynparza delivers

Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca says its net income and sales fell in the third quarter as it worked to make up for the loss of patent protection for major products such as Crestor and Seroquel XR.

AstraZeneca narrowed its 2017 guidance, saying it now expects its core earnings per share to be towards the favorable end of a low to mid-teens percentage decline.

Industry analysts, on average, had forecast quarterly earnings of $1.04 and revenue of $5.95 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Total revenue rose 9 percent to $6.23 billion, helped by a $997 million payment from Merck & Co, which struck a cancer drug partnership deal with the British group in July.

Thanks to research and development costs falling 3% and overheads by 11%, or 1% and 9% at constant exchange rates, reported operating profits rose 12% to $1.15bn and core operating profit core EPS rose 9% to $1.85bn. (AZN.L, AZN) reported Thursday that its third-quarter profit before tax increased 10 percent to $746 million from $676 million a year ago.

"Our financial performance in the quarter was in line with expectations", AstraZeneca's chief executive Pascal Soriot commented in the statement, adding, however, that it had been "the raft of news flow and approvals that was most notable".

He also said there was "significant opportunities" offered by the new strategic collaboration with Merck to maximise the potential of Lynparza.

AstraZeneca suffered the biggest ever daily fall in its shares three months ago, following the initial failure of a key lung cancer trial dubbed Mystic.

Astra shares were up nearly 2% to 5,092p after an hour of trading in London on Thursday.

Total revenue for the year is still expected to a low to mid single-digit percentage decline.



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