AstraZeneca profit falls 37%, backs outlook

AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) on Thursday backed its full-year outlook after posting a net profit fall in the third quarter, and said that its portfolio of new medicines has been firmly established as a growth driver.

The pharmaceutical company said net profit for the quarter ended Sept. 30 was $431 million compared with $686 million the year before. Revenue fell 14% to $5.34 billion as externalization revenue declined sharply–however product sales increased by 7.9%.

Core operating profit–a company measure that strips out exceptional items–fell 29% to $1.32 billion, hit by declining total revenue.

The company’s portfolio of new medicines is showing promise, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said. Sales of oncology medicines–a key therapy area for Astra–increased 47% in the year to date, it said, buoyed by recent launches like that of Imfinzi.

AstraZeneca backed its previous guidance of a low, single-digit percentage increase in product sales in 2018, and core earnings per share of between $3.30 and $3.50.

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