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Crestor leads AZ European sales growth

Published on 03/08/06 at 01:26pm

Crestor was AstraZeneca's most rapidly expanding product in terms of European sales in the second quarter of this year.  

Sales of Crestor in Europe increased by 58% to take non-US sales of the product to $290 million (155 million pounds).

Worldwide, it was one of five key drugs for the company, Nexium, Seroquel, Arimidex and Symbicort being the other four, which gave a combined sales growth for all five of 21% in the same period to produce a total of $3.3 billion.

Concerns have been expressed that Nexium, which treats gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, will face pricing pressures in the US and Germany later in the year, but a company spokesman said it was too soon to comment on this.

Chief executive David Brennan commented: "The strong second quarter earnings performance reflects our continued delivery of good sales growth and margin expansion.

"The prospects of our current portfolio have been strengthened by the Symbicort approval in the US and the regulatory submission for Seroquel in the US."

Mr Brennan concluded: "Progress continues in our licensing and business development initiatives, as evidenced by the completed acquisition of CAT and the recently announced collaboration with Abbot in the US cholesterol market."

The company, which bought Cambridge Antibody Technology for 702 million pounds in May, said it would continue to look both internally and externally for opportunities to strengthen its drugs pipeline, which has recently suffered a number of serious blows with late-stage product failures. Most recently, it announced its phase III diabetes drug Galida was to be pulled because of safety concerns.

AstraZeneca's alliance with CAT focuses on a 75 million pound discovery programme involving the development of at least five antibody therapy candidates a year for five years. The pharma company is also collaborating with Abbott to develop a single, fixed-dose pill combing Crestor with Abbott's TriCor to treat mixed lipid disorders.

The company's sales in the first six months of this year rose by 8% to $12.8 billion with underlying operating profit (which excludes its $109 million divestment gain in the period) up by 23%.

AstraZeneca's global sales for 2005 totalled $24 billion and a spokesman said the company was on target to achieve its financial objectives for 2006.

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