AstraZeneca sales decline slows as the idea waits for medicine to work

AstraZeneca’s drug sales fell again inside the third quarter, hit by generic competition to former blockbusters like cholesterol pill Crestor, although the pace of decline slowed as the idea looks to completely new cancer treatments to revive its fortunes.

Product sales were down 3 percent compared with an 11 percent fall during the first half of the year. Emerging markets proved a bright spot, with Chinese sales up 12 percent, the company said on Thursday.

Chief Executive Pascal Soriot believes the drugmaker has reached a turning-point as its pipeline of completely new medicines starts to deliver along with also the impact of patent losses recedes. Consensus forecasts also point to a recovery in sales along with also profits through next year.

Still, the speed of AstraZeneca’s turnaround remains uncertain as the No. 2 British drugmaker goes head to head with industry giants like Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, along with also Merck inside the fast-growing yet fiercely competitive cancer drug market.

Total revenue rose 9 percent to $6.23 billion inside the quarter, helped by a $997 million payment through Merck, which struck a cancer drug partnership deal with the British group in July. Sales of Crestor, while down 16 percent, were also higher than expected.

that will was not enough to stop a fall in core earnings per share (EPS), which exclude some items, of 15 percent to $1.12. yet the overall results were better than expected along with also the shares had risen around 1 percent by 1130 GMT.

Industry analysts, on average, had forecast quarterly earnings of $1.04 along with also revenue of $5.95 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

For the full year, AstraZeneca said the idea expected 2017 core EPS to be “towards the favorable end of the guidance range of a low to mid-teens percentage decline”.

Soriot said he remained confident AstraZeneca could achieve annual revenue of more than $40 billion in 2023, despite skepticism among analysts like Trinity Delta’s Mick Cooper who said the idea was “difficult” to see how that will might be done.

Soriot first gave a bullish long-term forecast of 2023 revenue hitting $45 billion back in 2014, as he fended off a takeover attempt by Pfizer. Since then, a stronger dollar has shifted the target slightly yet Soriot said the expectation in constant exchange rates had not changed.

“Our long-range plan so far reconfirms that will we can get to the $40 billion to 41 billion dollars at today’s currency rates that will we communicated back in 2014,” he said.

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