Britain's AstraZeneca bettered second-quarter sales and profit estimates on Thursday, thanks to strong sales during the lockdowns from the drugmaker's diverse product line-up, which now includes a front-running coronavirus vaccine candidate.
Optimism over its Covid-19 vaccine has fuelled what was already a strong year for the company as it also stuck by its 2020 outlook. AstraZeneca has gained from changes wrought by Chief Executive Pascal Soriot's focus on products and bets on newer medicines.
The company reiterated that it was on track with late-stage trials for its coronavirus vaccine, which could be rolled out by the year-end.
Shares of London's most valuable listed company on Thursday rose 3% at 88.6 pounds after product sales of $6.05 billion in the three months ended June 30 surpassed analysts' consensus of $6.01 billion. The figure excludes payments from tie-ups.
Newer drugs for diabetes, heart conditions and cancer, including its top selling lung cancer drug Tagrisso, performed well in the quarter and AstraZeneca remains on track for a third consecutive year of growth.
AstraZeneca has had a busy few months: it took on development of the Covid-19 shot from Oxford University, got billions in government funding, signed several supply deals, and was even the subject of a mega-merger speculation - all while marching on with its core business.
Among drugs with better-than-expected revenues, sales of respiratory drug Symbicort rose 12% to $653 million, about $90 million above consensus, while revenue from cancer drug Lynparza jumped 62% to $554 million.
There are no approved vaccines for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, but AstraZeneca's shot is widely considered the leading candidate after results from early-stage human trials showed it was safe and produced an immune response.
Core earnings of 96 cents per share beat analysts' expectation of 93 cents. Total revenue rose 11%.