Shares in AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) have slipped into the red in London in today’s session, even as the blue-chip drugmaker posted a rise in sales for the first three months of the year. The Anglo-Swedish pharmco disclosed that it had benefitted from its new medicines which helped offset a decline in older drugs which have been facing competition from cheaper generics.
As of 09:58 BST, the AstraZeneca share price had given up 0.51 percent to 5,859.00p, marginally underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.38 percent lower at 7,406.15 points. The group’s shares have added more than 17 percent to their value over the past year, as compared with about a 0.2-percent fall in the Footsie.
AstraZeneca posts results
AstraZeneca announced in a statement this morning that its product sales had grown 10 percent at actual exchange rates to $5.47 billion, reflecting the drugmaker’s performance of its new medicines, whose sales rose 77 percent. Reported operating profit meanwhile spiked 58 percent to $1.1 billion, while core earnings came in 82 percent higher at $0.89.
“Together with this encouraging financial start to the year, our highly-productive and sustainable pipeline continued to deliver,” AstraZeneca’s chief executive Pascal Soriot commented in the statement.
The company reaffirmed its full-year guidance for a high single-digit percentage increase in product sales and core earnings per share of between $3.50 and $3.70.
Analysts weigh in on group
Ed Corbett, a partner at Novasecta Ltd, a London-based consulting firm, told Bloomberg that AstraZeneca’s roster of candidate drugs is among the most mature in the industry, with 17 percent of its compounds in the final stage of development.
“They’ve got a whole raft of approvals in the pipeline,” he told the newswire in a telephone interview. “Their transition from big pharma to big biotech is happening.”