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AstraZeneca has hiked its revenue forecast for the year after strong demand for its Covid-19 antibody treatment and cancer medication.
The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant said it expects the Evusheld Covid-19 injection to help drive sales of at least 20% for the year.
It had previously told shareholders it expected sales to grow in the “high teens”.
Chief executive officer Pascal Soriot said: “AstraZeneca had a strong financial first half of 2022, and great pipeline delivery.
“Given the ongoing performance of our underlying business and the contribution of our Covid-19 medicines, we are updating our revenue guidance for 2022.
“This has enabled us to increase our R&D investment in the exciting number of pipeline opportunities that can benefit patients and drive long term sustainable growth for our company.”
The group hailed the success of the Evusheld treatment, which it said is continuing to “demonstrate activity against new variants”.
It also cheered a “strong” period for oncology, which helped deliver 20% growth over the six months to June.
AstraZeneca said total revenues increased by 48% to 22.16 billion dollars (£18.2 billion) over the half-year as it was boosted by broad organic growth and its £28 billion deal to buy US drugmaker Alexion pharmaceuticals.
Nevertheless, shares in the company drifted lower on Friday as it revealed a 53% decline in operating profits to 1.4 billion dollars (£1.15 billion) for the first six months of the year.
The pharmaceutical firm also confirmed that current board executive Michel Demare will take over as the company’s chair from Leif Johansson next year.