Thursday 5 November 2020 9:05 am

Astrazeneca boosts revenue but misses first vaccine delivery target

Pharma giant Astrazeneca has seen its sales and revenue rise for the year to date despite the ongoing disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.

The FTSE blue-chip said that revenue increased eight per cent to £19.2bn in the first nine months of the year, while sales rose nine per cent.

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The company, which is working with the University of Oxford on a coronavirus vaccine, said that it expected to report results of late stage trials of the vaccine later this year.

However, last night it was revealed that the firm had missed its target of delivering 30m doses of the vaccine to UK officials by the end of September.

UK vaccine taskforce chair Kate Bingham said that the firm would deliver 4m doses instead.

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“The predictions that were made in good faith at the time were assuming that absolutely everything would work and that there were no hiccups at all”, she said.

But she confirmed that all of the 100m doses ordered by the UK government would be delivered next year.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “We are making rapid progress in getting every stage of the supply chain ready so that when – and if – we get approval of the vaccine we, and our partners, can begin supply immediately.”

Astrazeneca said that it was also launching trials of an advanced treatment of the disease for those most vulnerable to it.

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The firm held its financial guidance for the full year, with revenue expected to increase a high single-digit to a low double-digit percentage.

Chief executive Pascal Soriot said: “We made encouraging headway in the quarter, despite the ongoing disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic.