AstraZeneca returns to profit on higher drugs revenue

British pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca on Thursday announced a return to third-quarter profit on increased revenue from sales of its drugs.

Net profit for the Covid-vaccine maker came in at $1.64 billion in the July-September period, a statement said.

That compared with a loss after tax of $1.65 billion in the third quarter of last year, in part on costs linked to its takeover of US biotech company Alexion.

For the third quarter of this year, revenue jumped 11 percent to almost $11 billion as AstraZeneca began to profit from the Alexion purchase that cost it $39 billion.

AstraZeneca was benefitting also from “sustained investment in research and development (R&D)”, chief executive Pascal Soriot said in Thursday’s statement.

While overall sales jumped, driven by cancer drugs, revenue from its Covid jab Vaxzevria slumped 83 percent in the quarter to $173 million.

Revenue from AstraZeneca’s new drug Evusheld, developed for patients at risk of death from Covid, came in at $537 million.

“In all, required investment costs in drug development continue to weigh, and falling sales of its Vaxzevria Covid-19 vaccine have pushed emerging market sales down a tenth during the quarter,” noted Keith Bowman, investment analyst at Interactive Investor.

“What’s more, Astra’s purchase of Alexion… is still to be fully justified.”

AstraZeneca’s share price jumped 2.1 percent to £110 ($125) on London’s top FTSE 100 index, down slightly overall in late morning deals.

Analysts said the shares were boosted by a positive earnings outlook.

“Progress in drug innovation and approvals is evident” for the group said Bowman, adding that “cancer treatment sales accounted for over a third of overall revenues during this latest period”. — Agence France-Presse