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AstraZeneca delivers $275m in sales from COVID vaccines

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Suban Abdulla
·3-min read
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AstraZeneca's chief executive, Pascal Soriot said the strong performance was despite the coronavirus crisis delaying the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions. Photo: Alfonso Di Vincenzo/Kontrolab/LightRocket via Getty Images
AstraZeneca's chief executive, Pascal Soriot said the strong performance was despite the coronavirus crisis delaying the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions. Photo: Alfonso Di Vincenzo/Kontrolab/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) announced on Friday its COVID vaccine contributed $275m (£198m) in sales as it posted better-than-expected first quarter results.

It is the first time the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) company has given financial details from the distribution and sales of its vaccine. 

The drugmaker said it will not make a profit from the jab it created in collaboration with the University of Oxford during the pandemic.

Revenues grew 15% to $7.3bn in the first three months of 2021, or by 11% excluding currency movements. 

Core earnings soared 55% to $1.63, beating analyst estimates of $1.48. The company reiterated its full-year guidance for core earnings per share between $4.75 and $5.

Vaccine revenue included delivery of approximately 68 million global doses, AstraZeneca said. Profit after tax jumped from £750m to £1.56bn.

WATCH: How do people feel about the AstraZeneca vaccine?

AstraZeneca's chief executive, Pascal Soriot said the strong performance was despite the coronavirus crisis delaying the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions. 

"We delivered solid progress in the first quarter of 2021 and continued to advance our portfolio of life-changing medicines,” Soriot said. “We expect the impact of COVID to reduce and anticipate a performance acceleration in the second half of 2021."

Shares soared as much as 4.3% on Friday morning in London. 

Chart: Yahoo Finance
Chart: Yahoo Finance

The results come "against the backdrop of a global pandemic and GSK’s recent lacklustre earnings, AstraZeneca appears to be setting the benchmark for success amongst the world's big pharma' players," said Sebastian Skeet, senior analyst at Third Bridge.

Sales in cancer drugs and emerging markets also provided an additional boost to the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical firm. 

Sales in Europe were $224m, while emerging market sales were $43m, and $8m in the rest of the world, it said.

Oncology sales were up 20% from the same period in the previous year, while revenue from emerging markets was up 14%, with a 19%increase in China.

The results come after a whirlwind few months for the company which has been embroiled in a row with the European Union over delays and cuts in its vaccine deliveries and blood clotting events. 

European Commission (EC) president Ursula von der Leyen previously threatened the bloc would take legal action if AstraZeneca did not fulfil its contract with Europe. 

The lawsuit in Brussels began on Wednesday, with the bloc’s lawyers pressing for immediate deliveries of doses from all of the company’s factories, including those within the United Kingdom.

Skeet added: "The public story for AstraZeneca is less impressive with negative sentiment around its vaccine persisting. Rollout efforts have been impacted by extremely rare blood clotting events, the EU's lawsuit, and questions around the path forward in the US."

"There is an urgent demand for vaccines in emerging economies which AstraZeneca’s candidate could cater for, especially given its favourable storage temperature requirements and the fact this remains a safe an effective vaccine option."

WATCH: Should I be worried about the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine?