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AstraZeneca COVID vaccine pushes sales to $37bn

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·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
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AstraZeneca  Vials labelled
AstraZeneca made its first sales of the COVID vaccine on a for-profit basis in the quarter. Photo:Dado Ruvic/Reuters

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) made $3.9bn (£2.9bn) in sales from its coronavirus jab last year as the COVID vaccine maker reported $36.5bn (£26.9bn) in total sales.

The pharmaceutical giant said it has delivered on its promise of “broad and equitable access” to its COVID vaccine, with 2.5 billion doses released for supply around the world last year.

The company has started to move away from providing its COVID vaccine to countries on a not-for-profit basis.

The drugs giant has started signing a series of for-profit agreements, and expects to make a modest income from the vaccine, it said.

Read more: GSK racks up £1.4bn in COVID sales ahead of consumer health split

The company had previously said it would only start to make money from the vaccine when COVID-19 was no longer a pandemic.

AstraZeneca made its first sales of the COVID vaccine on a for-profit basis in the quarter but did not disclose the revenue generated from the new contracts.

In the last three months of 2021 alone, the group raked $1.76bn (£1.3bn) in COVID-related sales.

AstraZeneca predicts COVID revenue will decline by a percentage in the low-to-mid 20s and that the gross profit margin from Covid-19 sales would be lower than the company average.

Total revenue at the UK drugmaker jumped 41% for the year to $37.4bn (£27.6bn). Core earnings per share rose 32%.

AstraZeneca jumped 3.3% to top the FTSE 100 index after the drugmaker forecast higher 2022 sales. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
AstraZeneca jumped 3.3% to top the FTSE 100 index after the drugmaker forecast higher 2022 sales. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

Chief executive Pascal Soriot said AstraZeneca remained on a “strong growth trajectory” as he forecasted total group sales to rise by a “high teens percentage”.

He added: “AstraZeneca continued on its strong growth trajectory in 2021, with industry-leading R&D (research and development) productivity, five of our medicines crossing new blockbuster thresholds, and the acquisition and integration of Alexion.”

Read more: Big pharma fined £35m by competition regulator over NHS drug prices

The company bought Alexion, a US biotech specialising in rare diseases, in July for $39bn (£28.7bn) to deepen its focus on immunology and strengthen its position in the US.

Cancer drugs Tagrisso and Lynparza generated more than £1bn each in the fourth quarter.

The company raised its dividend for the first time in a decade, with a total 2021 payout of $2.87 (£2.11) per share.

AstraZeneca jumped 3.7% to top the FTSE 100 index after the British drugmaker forecast higher 2022 sales as it posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, but flagged lower gross profit margins.

Watch: Hundreds of thousands probably died due to 'bad behaviour' from politicians over AstraZeneca vaccine, says Oxford scientist

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