Astrazeneca’s revenue better than forecast

Pascal Soriot fended off a takeover attempt last year
ASTRAZENECA revenue fell by a smaller-than-expected seven per cent in the second quarter, as income from selling rights to medicines offset generic competition to older drugs and a strong dollar.

The drugmaker increased its revenue forecast for the year and said it now expected a low single-digit percentage decline, against mid single-digit previously, while core earnings are still expected to increase at a low single-digit rate.

The decision to hold the earnings outlook despite a better revenue picture reflects accelerated investment in research and development.

Chief executive Pascal Soriot, who fended off a $118bn (£75.6bn) takeover attempt by Pfizer last year, is banking on a promising pipeline of new drugs to revive the company’s sales from 2017.

The company submitted two new oncology drugs for approval in the quarter – AZD9291 for lung and cediranib for ovarian cancer.

Its established business is under pressure from a slew of patient expiries but sales of heartburn pill Nexium, cholesterol fighter Crestor and diabetes products were stronger than expected.

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