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AstraZeneca sales strong despite Nexium's decline

Published on 01/02/08 at 11:41am

AstraZeneca achieved sales growth of 12% in 2007, despite a worrying decline in sales from its biggest seller, anti-ulcer drug Nexium.

Worldwide Nexium sales declined 2% to $5.2 billion, reflecting a 4% drop in US sales due to the encroachment of generics in the class, as well as lower than expected prices for Nexium.

Continued decline in its leading brand will be a concern during 2008 for AstraZeneca, but the company hopes to offset this with growth elsewhere in its portfolio.

Anti-psychotic drug Seroquel fared much better over the year, up 15% to just over $4 billion, while sales of cholesterol treatment Crestor rose 33% to $2.8 billion.

The company also plans to continue its internal re-organisation and cost cutting programme in 2008, while also investing more in R&D.

It says it will launch an average of two new medicines each year from 2010 - bringing forward the previous target, which was for this to happen from 2013.

David Brennan, chief executive, said the company now had "a larger, stronger and less risky phase III portfolio" of new drugs.

One of the most significant product developments for the company in 2008 will be the expected filing of saxagliptin, its new diabetes drug co-developed with Merck. The drug is due to be filed in the second quarter, with approval expected within the following 12 months.

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