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Astrazeneca: Alexion boosts sales and squeezes profits

British pharmaceutical group Astrazeneca, maker of one of the main Covid-19 vaccines, saw sales jump in the first half, but its profits plunged due to soaring costs in the wake of the integration of Alexion.

The laboratory recorded a 48% increase in its turnover, to 22.2 billion dollars (21.1 billion francs), over the first six months of the year, driven in particular by oncology, and is raising its sales forecast for the current fiscal year, it said in a statement on Friday.

Net income group share fell 64% to $746 million, eaten by soaring costs ‘reflecting the addition of Alexion and sustained investment in new launches and the pipeline of products in development ‘, specifies the company.

The acquisition of Alexion for $39 billion was finalized in July 2021.

Astrazeneca specifies that its drug receipts against Covid-19 should come out broadly unchanged over one year this year, whereas previously a drop was anticipated.

The increase in sales of its treatment Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody, should indeed offset ‘the expected decline in sales of (its vaccine) Vaxzevria’, as vaccination campaigns slow down as the danger of the pandemic is considered. less pressing in many countries.

Evusheld’s receipts have in fact almost caught up with those of Vaxzevria in the second quarter, while those of the vaccine, coming mainly from emerging markets, have slowed sharply (-49%).

Developed countries now favor mRNA vaccines like Pfizer’s. AstraZeneca’s serum, which was initially put on the market at cost price by the laboratory, is now mainly redirected to the international Covax program, intended for poor countries.

In particular, the United Kingdom has chosen other vaccines for its booster doses.

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The majority of Vaxzevria’s revenues this year are expected from new contracts, specifies the group, and the gross margins on these drugs against Covid should come out lower than the average for the group’s other products, as already announced, the laboratory having warned that the serum would not become a high-profit product.

Its managing director, Pascal Soriot, underlined that the group has made “tremendous progress in its efforts to fight against Covid-19” with the house vaccine Vaxzevria, “which should have saved more than six million lives during the first year. of its deployment, according to estimates’.

At the same time, the group announced the appointment of Michel Demaré as chairman of the board of directors, to succeed Leif Johansson next year, after validation by the general meeting of shareholders in April.

Mr. Demaré is currently a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Group Remuneration Committee.

/ATS

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