AstraZeneca's sales rise as CEO hails transformational Alexion deal

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Sodertalje, Sweden - April 13, 2020: Extrior view of the multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca production plant located at Snackviken.
AstraZeneca hailed its deal with Alexion as part of a strong pipeline to profitability. Photo: PA

AstraZeneca's (AZN.L) shares fell more than 1% in early trade in London on Thursday morning as it hailed a transformational deal with Alexion in its half-year earnings update. 

"Following the successful acquisition of Alexion, we are today updating our full-year 2021 guidance. Our long-term goals to accelerate scientific discovery, invest for sustainable growth and deliver more benefits for patients remains unchanged," said Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO. 

The drugs company delivered revenue growth of 23% in the half to $15.5bn. In the second quarter, revenue increased by 31% to $8.2bn.

The company said that, excluding the contribution from the pandemic COVID-19 vaccine, revenue increased by 14% in the half. 

The company hailed the Alexion acquisition as part of its pipeline to long-term sustainable growth. AstraZeneca is updating its full-year 2021 guidance to reflect the contribution of Alexion in the year.

The deal, which was approved by EU regulators earlier in July, was first announced in December 2020. AstraZeneca said it would improve the company's scientific presence in immunology. The deal adds five approved medicines and a pipeline of 11 new potential drugs.

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AstraZeneca said that rare diseases represent a high-growth area with rapid innovation and significant unmet medical needs. Demand for medicines to treat rare diseases is forecasted to grow by a low double-digit percentage in the future.

Shareholders of both companies overwhelmingly supported the acquisition in a vote on 11 May 2021.

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