The pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca expects significant growth this year. The British-Swedish company expects sales growth in the high teens percentage range at constant exchange rates for 2022. However, sales of Covid products are likely to fall. The expected decline in sales of the Covid vaccine Vaxzevria should be partially offset by rising sales of the corona antibody drug Evusheld.
Antibody cocktail for Covid-19 prophylaxis
In December 2021, Evusheld received emergency use authorization in the USA for what is known as pre-exposure prophylaxis. The drug is used to prevent Covid-19 for people with severe immunosuppression who do not respond to vaccination. It is also indicated for people for whom vaccination is contraindicated but who are at very high risk of serious illness after a Covid infection.
According to a study published by the company at the end of the year, the antibody cocktail also has a neutralizing effect against the omicron variant. This study was conducted by researchers from the US Food and Drug Administration and supported by US government research funding.
"By combining two potent antibodies with distinct and complementary activities against the virus, Evusheld has been designed to circumvent potential resistance when new SARS-CoV-2 variants emerge," explained AstraZeneca Chief Research Officer Mene Pangalos.
Cancer drugs and vaccines as major sales drivers
Last year, AstraZeneca did good business primarily with its corona vaccine Vaxzevria and the cancer drugs Tagrisso, Imfinzi and Lynparza. Revenue rose 41 percent to approximately $37.4 billion. The takeover of the US biotechnology company Alexion also had a positive impact.
However, the takeover clearly ate up profits, the bottom line was the surplus was only 112 million dollars, after AstraZeneca had generated around 3.2 billion dollars in the previous year.
AstraZeneca raises dividend for the first time in ten years
Group boss Pascal Soriot was also confident about the long-term growth of the group thanks to the billion-dollar Alexion takeover. Investors should therefore receive more dividends in the future. There should already be $2.87 per share for 2021, after $2.80 in the previous year. It is the first dividend increase in ten years. After that, the payout is expected to rise to $2.90.
That's good for the stock market. AstraZeneca shares rose by up to four percent in London, temporarily leading the FTSE 100 index.