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AstraZeneca PLC Returns to Sales Growth; New Medicines and Emerging Markets Lead the Way

AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN), today announced Q3 2018 results.

Product Sales increased by 4% in the year to date (2% at CER1), supporting full-year guidance. For the quarter, Product Sales increased by 8% (9% at CER), driven by the strong performance of new medicines2 (+85%, +86% at CER) and the sustained strength of Emerging Markets (+12%, +16% at CER). Oncology sales increased by 56% in the quarter (57% at CER); China and US sales increased by 32% and 25%, respectively. The pipeline, designed to deliver sustainable growth and advances in treatment for patients, produced further positive news flow in the period; regular, additional news will continue. The Company is on track to deliver its FY 2018 Product Sales and Core EPS guidance.

 

YTD 2018

Q3 2018

$m

% change

$m

% change

Actual

CER

Actual

CER

Total Revenue

15,673

(6)

(8)

5,340

(14)

(13)

Product Sales

15,281

4

2

5,266

8

9

Externalisation Revenue

392

(81)

(81)

74

(95)

(95)

Reported Operating Profit3

2,310

(23)

(20)

851

(26)

(21)

Core Operating Profit4

3,480

(31)

(31)

1,319

(29)

(26)

Reported Earnings Per Share (EPS)

$0.88

(34)

(34)

$0.34

(37)

(36)

Core EPS

$1.88

(37)

(37)

$0.71

(37)

(33)

 

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, commenting on the results said:

“Today marks an important day for the future of AstraZeneca, with the performance in the quarter and year to date showing what we expect will be the start of a period of sustained growth for years to come. Commercial execution has been exceptional and our new medicines are now firmly established as the drivers of growth, supporting our continued success in Emerging Markets.

These new medicines are showing great promise, including Tagrisso, Imfinzi, Lynparza in cancer, Farxiga in diabetes and Fasenra in severe asthma. We’re also continuing to replenish our early-stage pipeline as we bring our innovative medicines to patients around the world.”

Financial Highlights

• Product Sales increased by 4% in the year to date (2% at CER) to $15,281m; new medicines generated additional sales of $1.8bn at CER

• The Reported Gross Margin declined by two percentage points to 78% in the year to date, partly reflecting the favourable impact of manufacturing variances in the first half of 2017 and the dilutive effect of the Lynparza collaboration with MSD5; the Core Gross Margin declined by two percentage points to 80%

• Productivity gains, simplification and the focus on costs continued, with prioritised investment in new medicines and in China delivering strong returns

o Total Reported Operating Expenses were stable in the year to date (down by 2% at CER) to $11,589m. Total Core Operating Expenses increased by 4% (2% at CER) to $10,253m

o Reported R&D costs declined by 7% in the year to date (8% at CER) to $3,920m; Core R&D costs declined by 4% (6% at CER) to $3,800m, driven by efficiency savings and resource optimisation. Reported SG&A costs increased by 4% in the year to date (1% at CER) to $7,431m; Core SG&A costs increased by 10% (7% at CER) to $6,215m, reflecting support for new medicines and growth in China

• Externalisation Revenue declined by 81% in the year to date to $392m, partly driven by the impact of $997m of income in YTD 2017 as part of the aforementioned collaboration with MSD. Reported Other Operating Income & Expense increased by 55% to $1,525m; Core Other Operating Income & Expense increased by 4% in the year to date (3% at CER) to $1,143m, with the difference between the Reported and Core performances reflecting a legal settlement in the first half of the year. The Company anticipates a significant sum of Externalisation Revenue and Other Operating Income & Expense in the final quarter of the year

• Restructuring costs declined to $271m in the year to date (YTD 2017: $645m); capital expenditure also declined to $728m (YTD 2017: $849m). The Company continues to anticipate declines in restructuring costs and capital expenditure over the full year

• Reported EPS of $0.88 in the year to date represented a decline of 34%. The performance reflected a decline in Total Revenue, the Reported Gross Margin and the increase in Reported SG&A costs. Core EPS declined by 37% to $1.88.

Commercial Highlights

• Oncology: sales growth of 47% in the year to date (44% at CER) to $4,261m, including:

– Tagrisso sales of $1,266m, representing growth of 94% (91% at CER), with increased use in the treatment of 2nd-line EGFR6 T790M-mutated7 NSCLC8 patients and the 2018 approvals in the 1st-line EGFR-mutated (EGFRm) setting as a new standard of care (SoC). Tagrisso sales increased by 104% (105% at CER) to $506m in the quarter

– Lynparza sales of $438m, representing growth of 122% (118% at CER), driven by expanded use in the treatment of ovarian cancer and the approval for use in the treatment of breast cancer

– Imfinzi sales of $371m (YTD 2017: $1m), reflecting ongoing launches for the treatment of unresectable, Stage III NSCLC

• New CVRM9: 14% growth in the year to date (12% at CER) to $2,901m, including:

– Brilinta sales of $945m, representing growth of 21% (18% at CER), due to continued market penetration in acute coronary syndrome and high-risk post-myocardial infarction (HR PMI)

– Farxiga sales of $994m, with growth of 34% (32% at CER), including a sales increase of 51% in Emerging

Markets (57% at CER) to $242m

– Bydureon sales of $446m, an increase of 4% (3% at CER), reflecting an encouraging Bydureon BCise device launch in the US earlier in the year. Sales increased by 19% in the quarter to $152m. Bydureon BCise was also approved in the EU in the quarter

• Respiratory: 5% growth in the year to date (2% at CER) to $3,549m, including:

– A Symbicort sales decline of 6% (9% at CER) to $1,925m, as competitive class pressures in the US continued unabated. Emerging Markets sales of Symbicort increased by 13% (12% at CER) to $364m

– Pulmicort sales growth of 11% (7% at CER) to $897m. China sales increased by 24% (17% at CER) to $572m

– Fasenra sales of $172m (Q3 2018: $86m), consolidating its leadership position among novel biologic severe-asthma medicines

• Emerging Markets: the Company’s largest region by Product Sales, with growth of 13% in the year to date (12% at CER) to $5,124m, including:

– A China sales increase of 33% (27% at CER) to $2,847m. Oncology sales in China increased by 55% in the year to date (48% at CER) to $646m, partly underpinned by the launch of Tagrisso in China in 2017, which was added to the National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL) with effect from Q1 2019 for the treatment of 2nd-line EGFRm T790M-mutated NSCLC. In the quarter, overall China sales increased by 32% to $954m

– An ex-China sales decline of 4% (2% at CER) to $2,277m, partly impacted by the impact from the loss of Product Sales through externalisation activities. The quarter saw an ex-China sales decline of 6% to $746m; this, however, represented an improved performance at CER (+1%). Asia-Pacific sales increased by 6% in the quarter to $269m and Russia sales increased by 2% (11% at CER) to $56m

Pipeline Highlights

The table below highlights significant developments in the late-stage pipeline since the prior results announcement:

Regulatory Approvals

–     Lynparza – ovarian cancer (2nd line) (CN)

–     Tagrisso – lung cancer (1st line) (JP)

–     Imfinzi – locally-advanced, unresectable NSCLC (EU)

–     Lumoxiti (moxetumomab pasudotox-tdfk) – hairy cell leukaemia (3rd line) (US)

–     Bydureon BCise autoinjector – type-2 diabetes (EU)

Regulatory Submissions and/or Acceptances

–     Lynparza – ovarian cancer (1st line) (EU, JP, CN)

–     Tagrisso – lung cancer (1st line) (CN)

–     Symbicort – mild asthma (EU)

–     Duaklir – COPD10 (US)

–     Bevespi – COPD (JP, CN)

–     PT010 – COPD (JP, CN)

Major Phase III Data Readouts or Other Major Developments

–     Lynparza – pancreatic cancer: Orphan Drug Designation (US)

–     selumetinib – NF111: orphan designation (EU)

–     Farxiga – type-2 diabetes: CVOT12 primary safety endpoint met; one of two primary efficacy endpoints met

–     Bevespi – COPD: CHMP13 positive opinion (EU)

–     tezepelumab – severe asthma: Breakthrough Therapy Designation (US)

–     anifrolumab – lupus (TULIP 1 trial): primary endpoint not met

 

Guidance

The Company is on track to deliver its FY 2018 guidance. All measures in this section are at CER. Company guidance is on Product Sales and Core EPS only:

Product Sales

A low single-digit percentage increase

Core EPS

$3.30 to $3.50

 

Variations in performance between quarters can be expected to continue. The Company is unable to provide guidance and indications on a Reported basis because the Company cannot reliably forecast material elements of the Reported result, including the fair-value adjustments arising on acquisition-related liabilities, intangible-asset impairment charges and legal-settlement provisions. Please refer to the section ‘Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Statements’ at the end of this announcement.

Additional Commentary

Outside of guidance, the Company provides indications at CER for FY 2018 vs. the prior year:

• As part of its long-term growth strategy, the Company remains committed to focusing on appropriate cash-generating and value-accretive externalisation activities that reflect the ongoing productivity of the pipeline. It is also committed to the continued management of its portfolio through divestments and to increasing the focus, over time, on its three main therapy areas

• The sum of Externalisation Revenue and Core Other Operating Income & Expense is anticipated to decline. In the year to date, the Company generated a sum of $1,535m (FY 2017: $4,266m). Additions to this over the remainder of the year are anticipated to include the impact of:

o Transactions recently announced – see the Corporate & Business Development section for details. These transactions are subject to customary closing conditions

o $400m in potential option payments from the Lynparza collaboration with MSD, which, if MSD chooses to exercise the option, would be recorded in Externalisation Revenue in Q4 2018

o A sales-related milestone under the same collaboration of $150m, achieved during October 2018 and to be recorded in Externalisation Revenue in Q4 2018

• Core R&D costs in FY 2018 are now anticipated to decline by a low single-digit percentage. The prior indication was for a stable to low single-digit percentage decline. Productivity savings, simplification and improved development processes are helping to deliver cost reductions. High levels of activity remain unchanged, illustrated by the 63 Phase III projects ongoing as at the end of the quarter (end of Q3 2017: 56)

• Total Core SG&A costs are now expected to increase broadly in line with the rate seen in the year to date, reflecting support for medicine launches, including Imfinzi in Oncology and Fasenra in Respiratory, as well as additional investment in China. The prior indication was for a low to mid single-digit percentage increase. The Company will retain flexibility in its investment approach, watching closely its impact on Product Sales

• AstraZeneca anticipates declines in restructuring costs and capital expenditure

• A Core Tax Rate of 16-20% (FY 2017: 14%)

Currency Impact

Based only on average exchange rates in the nine months to 30 September 2018 and the Company’s published currency sensitivities, the Company anticipates a favourable low single-digit percentage impact from currency movements on Product Sales and Core EPS in FY 2018. Details on currency sensitivities are contained within the Operating and Financial Review.

Sustainability

AstraZeneca’s sustainability ambition is founded on making science accessible and operating in a way that recognises the interconnection between business growth, the needs of society and the limitations of the planet. The Company’s sustainability ambition is reinforced by its purpose and values, which are intrinsic to its business model and ensures that the delivery of its strategy broadens access to medicines, minimises the environmental footprint of medicines and processes and ensures that all business activities are underpinned by the highest levels of ethics and transparency. A full update on the Company’s sustainability progress is shown in the Sustainability Update section of this announcement.