Belfast Telegraph

AstraZeneca raises its sales forecast as profits rise

By Roger Baird

Drug giant AstraZeneca raised its full-year revenue guidance after stronger-than-expected quarterly sales driven by its key heart treatment drug, Brilinta.

The firm said third-quarter sales fell 10% to $5.9bn (£3.8bn), just ahead of forecasts.

This was aided by sales of Brilinta, which jumped 73%, and a 12% uplift in emerging market drug revenues over the period.

The firm raised its annual sales forecast to be in line with last year's $26.1bn (£17bn) total, from previous guidance of a low single-digit decline.

AstraZeneca, led by chief executive Pascal Soriot, fought off a £69bn takeover bid from US rival Pfizer last year. Mr Soriot pledged to investors he would boost revenues at the business.

The group faces increasing competition from generic rivals to its heartburn drug Nexium, and will lose its exclusive licence to manufacture its blockbuster cholesterol drug Crestor in the US next year.

Mr Soriot said: "Looking ahead, the continued performance of our growth platforms and upcoming launches will combine with our increasing focus on costs and cash-generation to help offset headwinds and return AstraZeneca to sustainable growth."

Belfast Telegraph