AstraZeneca, the British drugmaker working on one of the world's leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates, on Thursday beat third-quarter sales estimates on strong demand for its diverse portfolio of drugs during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and maintained its 2020 forecasts.
The company has taken on the development of Oxford University's potential COVID-19 vaccine, scoring billions in funding and signing multiple deals to supply over three billion doses to countries around the world. Data in October showed the vaccine, called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, produces an immune response in both old and young adults. AstraZeneca is expected to publish eagerly awaited late-stage clinical trial data in the coming weeks.
Expectations are that Britain could start rolling out a successful vaccine in late December or early 2021. While AstraZeneca marches on with the vaccine, demand for its diverse portfolio of drugs remained strong despite disruptions to health systems due to the pandemic.
Product sales, which exclude payments from collaborations, rose 7% to $6.52 billion for the three months ended Sept. 30 on a constant-currency basis, ahead of a company-compiled consensus of $6.50 billion. However, the company reported core earnings of 94 cents per share, lower than analysts' expectations of 98 cents.
AstraZeneca said it still expects total revenue to increase by a high single-digit to a low double-digit percentage and core earnings per share to increase by a mid- to high-teens percentage.