AstraZeneca Q3 profit sags as coronavirus slows diagnoses


AstraZeneca Plc’s third-quarter profit fell short of analysts’ estimates as the pandemic inflated costs and discouraged some doctors’ visits and diagnoses.

Earnings per share fell to $0.94, missing analysts’ estimates of $1, the drugmaker said in a statement Thursday. Astra shares were little changed in London trading.

The pandemic has prompted some patients to hold off on seeking treatment for ailments that aren’t Covid-19 and forced hospitals to postpone surgeries. Other drugmakers such as Switzerland’s Novartis AG and Denmark’s Novo Nordisk A/S also cited similar disruptions.

Astra has been at the forefront of efforts to fight the pandemic, with the company gearing up to announce data from advanced trials for its collaboration with the University of Oxford on a potential vaccine in the coming weeks. The shot could be one of the first to be approved globally if successful. Astra has also started final trials for possible antibody treatment against the virus.

The company maintained its full-year guidance. Sales rose 3% to $6.6 billion last quarter as Astra’s cancer drugs pipeline continued to perform despite the disruption. Key oncology medicines roughly met analysts’ estimates, with lung cancer treatment Tagrisso delivering revenue of $1.2 billion.

The company said a slowdown in hospital visits in China due to the coronavirus resulted in a drop in sales for key inhaler Pulmicort, which left Astra’s respiratory portfolio down 12% for the quarter.

A fall in Europe revenues was partly driven by a missing milestone payment for ovarian cancer drug Lynparza, due by year-end, which came in the third quarter last year.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

News Source:- livemint

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