LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — British drugmaker AstraZeneca on Thursday posted soaring net profit in the first quarter as significant one-off costs were not repeated.
Robust sales of cancer treatments, offsetting a slump in demand for COVID-related treatments, helped also to boost profits after tax.
Net earnings leapt almost five-fold to US$1.8 billion (1.6 billion euros) in the three months to the end of March compared with the first quarter of last year, helped also by emerging markets.
AstraZeneca had been hit by vast restructuring and legal charges at the start of 2022, linked to its US$39-billion mega-takeover of US biotech firm Alexion.
This time around, first-quarter turnover fell four per cent to US$10.9 billion on tumbling sales of COVID treatments, in particular vaccine Vaxzevria which will create “minimal” revenue this year.
Stripping out COVID-related sales, turnover leapt 10 per cent to US$10.7 billion, with cancer treatment sales up 14 per cent.
“AstraZeneca had a strong start to 2023,” group chief executive Pascal Soriot said in the earnings statement.
“Our performance in emerging markets was particularly strong and I am impressed by the growth and pace of innovation I see in China.”
The results sent its share price up nearly one per cent to around £12 in morning deals on London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was down overall.