A box of vials with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is pictured on February 6, 2021 at Foch Hospital in Suresnes at the start of a vaccination campaign for health workers with the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine.
Alain Jocard | AFP | Getty Images
AstraZeneca saw product sales grow 10% for 2020. This year, alongside Oxford University, the drug maker has played a prominent role in developing a coronavirus vaccine.
The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company reported product sales of 25.8 billion US dollars for 2020. In the fourth quarter, sales rose 12% to just over $ 7 billion – the company topped that number for the first time in “many years”. Total revenue was $ 26.6 billion for the year and $ 7.4 billion for the fourth quarter.
The company’s profits come as the company continues to be in the limelight of its coronavirus vaccine, which the UK, EU and others rely heavily on to end the public health crisis caused by the pandemic.
AstraZeneca has announced that it will provide no-profit access to its vaccine for the “duration of the pandemic”, although the timing is uncertain. It is also committed to making the vaccine available to nonprofits in low and middle income countries on a permanent basis. Current revenues did not include sales of the vaccine.
The London Stock Exchange’s forecast for the coming year was that it expects revenue to grow from “low teens” and faster growth in core earnings per share to $ 4.75-5.00 in 2021.
The guidance does not include any revenue or profit impact from the sale of the Covid-19 vaccine, and the company intends to report these sales separately from the next quarter.
In the earnings report, Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca said that the performance over the past year “represents a significant step forward for AstraZeneca. Despite the significant impact of the pandemic, we achieved double-digit sales growth.”
“The consistent successes in the pipeline, the accelerated performance of our business and the advancement of the COVID-19 vaccine have shown what we can achieve,” he added.
The company announced that its dividend would remain unchanged at $ 2.80 per share for the full year.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine, developed with Oxford University, was hailed as a game changer along with candidates from other pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and BioNTech as well as Moderna.
While clinical studies have shown the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine to be less effective than its competitors, the fact that it is cheaper and easier to store and transport has proven to be a boon to countries like the UK where it has been January is introduced. The swift introduction of vaccines is seen as critical to reopening economies that have been badly damaged by lockdowns and job losses.
However, the company has had some controversy over its vaccine.
Some drug regulators in Europe have said they will not recommend the vaccine for those over 65 – the target age when adoption is gaining traction – because they claim that there is no data to show that it is effective in this age group.
In the meantime, South Africa has suspended and then abandoned the use of the vaccine because of concerns that it would have limited efficacy against a variant of the virus it found there.
However, independent experts who advised the World Health Organization on vaccination on Wednesday recommended using AstraZeneca’s vaccine, even in countries where variants exist.
At the start of the process, late-stage clinical trial results highlighting a higher rate of effectiveness after a dosing error highlighted eyebrows among experts, as well as questions about the results and the recommended dosing regimen (like most coronavirus vaccines currently in use) is a two-dose Shot).
AstraZeneca also got into hot water with the EU when it said it won’t deliver as many vaccines to the block as expected in the spring, blaming its manufacturing facilities in Belgium and the Netherlands for teething troubles.