Shares in AstraZeneca were down nearly 4% on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday morning after reporting its latest financial results.
The Anglo-Swedish biopharmaceutical company reported $45.8bn (around €41.7bn) in revenue for the financial year 2023 and highlighted strong sales for its cancer drug.
It also posted gross profit of more than $37.5bn (around €34bn), up from $32bn (around €29bn) in 2022.
The results were driven by oncology drugs, which made up more than a third of sales reported.
Why AstraZeneca stock is down
However, the news failed to cheer investors with the company’s stock down 3.76%, at the time of writing.
“Many investors view AstraZeneca as invincible given its success in recent years, yet its latest results showed that even the mighty can disappoint,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.
“The drugs giant missed fourth quarter earnings expectations due to more money being spent on research and development and a greater contribution from lower-margin sales in emerging markets. However, the business remains optimistic about the prospects for its cancer and rare disease drugs.
“Pharmaceutical companies typically prosper from having a mixture of blockbuster products, treatments with limited or no competition, and a healthy pipeline of new drugs. AstraZeneca is under constant pressure to keep driving growth and that means success in the laboratory as well as products already on the market. AstraZeneca’s pipeline looks busy, but success is never guaranteed,” Mould added.
Obesity drug development plan
AstraZeneca’s latest earnings come as the group enters the race to develop an obesity drug.
As previously reported by Euronews Business, AstraZeneca announced a multi-billion dollar deal last year to produce the new drug with Chinese biopharmaceutical company Eccogene.
The deal provides that AstraZeneca will pay $1.825bn to Eccogene “in future clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones”.
Demand falls for Covid-19 vaccine
The company became a household name during the Covid-19 pandemic when it produced one of the first vaccines to be approved on the market. However, demand for its vaccine has declined as cases have eased.
“We expect another year of strong growth in 2024, driven by continued adoption of our medicines across geographies. Our differentiated and growing portfolio of approved medicines, global reach and rich R&D pipeline give us confidence that we will continue to deliver industry-leading growth,” Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca, said in a statement following the financial update.