- The pharma company announced that its Q4 2020 sales had jumped by 12 per cent to just over $7 billion.
- The company said it could take about six to nine months to make new vaccines protecting against new strains of the Covid-19 virus.
- The FTSE 100 index was boosted by Astrazeneca’s strong earnings results.
British-Swedish company AstraZeneca (LON: AZN) reported a significant rise of 10 per cent to US $25.8 billion in its product sales in 2020, at a time when all eyes are on it for its development of the Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with the University of Oxford.
The vaccine drugmaker reported its product sales increased by 12 per cent to over US $7 billion during Q4 2020. It was the first time in several years the pharma company crossed this number. The FTSE 100-listed company reported its Q4 revenues rose by 11 per cent, touching US $7.4 billion (£5.3 billion), and its full-year revenues for the year ending in 2020 grew by 9 per cent to reach US $26.6 billion.
The company’s Covid-19 vaccine sales stood at a modest $2 million for the financial year ending 2020, while its profit before tax was at US $3.9 billion for the same period. Also, the company’s full-year dividend was kept unchanged at US $2.80 per share. The company has said it would provide the vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic.
Development of vaccines
The company said it could take about six to nine months to develop new vaccines which can protect against new strains of the Covid-19 virus. It was among the first companies to be granted widespread EUA for its first-generation Covid-19 vaccine.
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The healthcare giant has gained importance as a significant player in lower-income nations, due to less stringent temperature considerations for transportation and its pledge to provide the vaccine at a cost in perpetuity to those regions, making it relatively cheaper than competitors such as Pfizer.
Despite the UK-Swedish company’s cheaper cost and mass rollout in the UK and other regions, it has faced controversy. The company showed lower efficacy rates in its clinical trials than other competitors like Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna; later it was under question for low efficacy of its vaccine in elderly people due to a lower number of trial participant.
The EU has chosen not to recommend the vaccine for over 65 age groups due to lack of proper data to support its efficiency.
At the same time, South Africa stopped using the vaccine due to low efficacy against its local mutation. However, independent advisors to the WHO recommended using the vaccine even in regions with new strains of the virus on Wednesday.
The company’s stock price stood at GBX 7,305.00, up by 0.80 per cent as of 14:20 PM GMT. Meanwhile, the broader index FTSE 100 was trading at GBX 6,524.56, marginally down by 0.02.