New clinical focus makes fresh start for AZ
- AstraZeneca's focus is shifting to oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and respiratory disease. These drove a 3% increase in the company's growth platforms, up by $10.8 billion in the third quarter.
- The 'new oncology' franchise brought in $197 million in the third quarter and $448 million in the year to date. Diabetes grew by 6% year-on-year but respiratory disease sales fell by 8%.
- By the end of 2016, AstraZeneca expects regulatory submissions for Tagrisso in lung cancer and for bemralizumab in severe asthma in Europe and the U.S.
CEO Pascal Soriot told investors this week that there are 13 new medicines in Phase 3 or registration and that he aims to bring the company back to growth despite a slow third quarter and a diminishing pipeline.
"The oncology pipeline is progressing ahead of our own expectations, in particular Tagrisso and the immuno-oncology programs. Tagrisso is an excellent example of the new AstraZeneca, and this product is going from strength to strength," said Soriot on a call with investors. "Respiratory was impacted in the quarter but is a growth platform with a combination of marketed and pipeline medicines like benralizumab."
AstraZeneca has been busy lately. In October alone, it has sold off rights to an IL-23 monoclonal antibody to Allergan; branded and generic forms of Toprol-XL to Aralez Pharmaceuticals; a Phase 1 pulmonary disease drug, AZD7986, to Insmed; ex-U.S. rights to Rhinocort Aqua (budesonide) to Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Cilag; and Chinese rights to two diabetes drugs, Byetta and Bydureon to 3SBio.
The income from the sales could help to fund new R&D and deals to strengthen up the pipeline; the lack of products performing strongly outside oncology has been described as worrying by Mick Cooper, an analyst at Trinity Delta.
Reporting earnings just days after the upset in the U.S. Presidential election, the European CEO commented on what it could mean for the company and the industry.
"We will all be left speculating for a little while. We don’t know what the new administration in the U.S. will look like. What we can reasonably expect is that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed or substantially modified, but it’s too early to tell what the new landscape will look like." Soriot added.
- AstraZeneca Statement
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