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AstraZeneca Stock Up On Strong Q1 Results, Outlook

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Shares of AstraZeneca Plc were gaining around 6 percent in London as well as on Nasdaq after the British drug major reported Friday that its first-quarter profit doubled from last year with strong growth in revenues. Revenues from COVID-19 vaccine sales were $275 million, mainly from Europe. The company also reiterated its fiscal 2021 guidance.

Looking ahead for fiscal 2021, the company continues to expect total revenue to increase by a low-teens percentage at constant exchange rates, accompanied by faster growth in core earnings per share to $4.75 to $5.00.

The company expect the impact of COVID to reduce and anticipate a performance acceleration in the second half of 2021.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, said, "We delivered solid progress in the first quarter of 2021 and continued to advance our portfolio of life-changing medicines. .. New medicines contributed over half of revenue and all regions delivered encouraging growth. This performance ensured another quarter of strong revenue and earnings progression, continued profitability, and cash-flow generation, despite the pandemic's ongoing negative impact on the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions."

For the first quarter, profit attributable to owners of the parent climbed to $1.56 billion or $1.18 per share from $780 million or $0.59 per share last year. Core earnings per share grew 55 percent to $1.63.

Profit before tax was $1.61 billion, up from $935 million in the prior year.

Total revenue, comprising product sales and collaboration revenue, increased 15 percent to $7.32 billion from $6.35 billion last year. Total revenue rose 11 percent at constant exchange rates.

The $275 million of pandemic COVID-19 vaccine sales reflected the delivery of around 68 million doses worldwide. Sales in Europe were $224 million, Emerging Markets sales were $43 million, and in Established RoW sales amounted to $8 million.

Excluding the contribution from the pandemic COVID-19 vaccine, total revenue increased 11 percent to $7.05 billion.

Product sales grew 15 percent to $7.26 billion, driven primarily by the performances of new medicines across Oncology and BioPharmaceuticals, including Tagrisso and Farxiga.

New medicines' total revenue improved 30 percent, while Oncology growth was 20 percent.

Emerging Markets revenues grew 14 percent, with China growth of 19 percent. In the US, total revenue increased 10 percent and in Europe by 28 percent.

In London, AstraZeneca shares were trading at 7,845 pence, up 6.04 percent.

On Nasdaq, the shares were trading at $54.35, up 5.80 percent.

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