AstraZeneca forecast boosts shares as COVID shot sales hit $275 mln
AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine delivered $275 million in first-quarter sales while shaving three cents per share from earnings, the drugmaker said on Friday as it posted better-than-expected results and forecast second half growth.
This is the first time the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has given financial details of the distribution and sales of the vaccine, which it developed with Oxford University. It has said it will not make a profit from the shot during the pandemic.
The vaccine revenue included delivery of about 68 million doses, AstraZeneca (AZN.L) said, adding that sales in Europe, where it faces a legal case, were $224 million, in emerging markets $43 million and $8 million in the rest of the world.
Sales of $275 million for 68 million doses equates to a price tag of around $4 per shot.
AstraZeneca was one of the leaders in the global race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Its cheap and easily transportable shot was hailed as a milestone in the fight against the crisis, but has since faced a series of setbacks.
“Shipments (of COVID-19 vaccines) are increasing as manufacturing improves,” Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said during a results briefing, adding that it was on track to deliver 200 million doses a month from April.
AstraZeneca shares were up 4% to 7,705 pence at 0845 GMT, putting them on track for their best day since October. The stock, which hit record highs in July 2020 due to optimism around the vaccine, ended last year 4% lower.
The results come after a bruising start to the year as the drugmaker struggles with production of its vaccine and faces a legal battle after cutting deliveries to Europe, while regulators probe rare blood clots in people who got the shot.
“Despite the intense operational and political challenges created by AZN’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out, the core business continues to perform above market expectations in a most challenging quarter, demonstrating strength across therapeutic areas and geographies,” Citigroup analysts said in a note…..read more