AstraZeneca's new medicines continue to drive growth in first half

Oncology continued to be the star, growing sales 28% to US$5.3bn or 42% of total group revenue

AstraZeneca -

AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) kept its dividend unchanged as first-half sales and earnings rose faster than expected thanks to continued strong performances from its new medicines.

The largest company in the FTSE 100 provided no new information on its work in collaboration with Oxford University on the potential AZD1222 coronavirus vaccine, where first data from ongoing clinical trials is expected in the second half.

For the first half, new medicines put in another standout performance, with sales improving 42% to US$6,4bn, representing 50% of total revenue of US$12.6bn, which grew 12% in the period.

Oncology was the star, growing 28% to US$5.3bn or 42% of the group, while cardiovascular, renal and metabolism medicines grew 8% to US$2.3bn and respiratory & immunology was up 5% to US$2.7bn.

AstraZeneca’s key oncology medicines all drive higher revenue than the market expected, with Tagrisso growing 1%, Lynparza 2% and Imfinzi 4%, being three of the top four in the group’s top ten selling medicines.

There was a separate announcement from the Anglo-Swedish company as US regulators granted Tagrisso ‘breakthrough therapy designation’ for the adjuvant treatment of patients with mutated lung cancer.

Overall earnings per share were US$1.17 for the half-year, with core EPS of US$2.01 up 24% on this time last year, as the second quarter saw growth accelerate to 32%.

Chief executive Pascal Soriot said he was particularly pleased with the 71% growth in emerging markets and the success of new medicines, where progress was made the pipeline, including clinical trial successes for Tagrisso and with Farxiga expanding its potential beyond diabetes.

“Looking ahead, while we continue to anticipate variations in quarterly performance, the continuation of our strategy makes us confident about the future,” he said.

The interim dividend of US$0.90 per share was unchanged, as was full-year guidance.

AZ shares rose 3% to 8,874p in early trading on Thursday. 

Quick facts: AstraZeneca

Price: 7592 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £99.66 billion

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