AstraZeneca profit rise helped by Crestor sales

  • 27 January 2011
  • From the section Business
AstraZeneca sign outside its Macclesfield plant
Image caption Emerging markets are increasingly key to AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca has reported a 2% rise in annual pre-tax profits - helped by higher sales of its cholesterol treatment Crestor.

The pharmaceutical giant made profits of $10.98bn (£6.9bn) in 2010, with sales up 3% to $33.3bn.

It said falling US profits, amid competition from generic drugs as patents lapsed, was offset by good growth in the rest of world.

Sales in emerging markets exceeded $5bn for the first time, it added.

"The coming years will be challenging for the industry and for the company as its revenue base transitions through a period of exclusivity losses and new product launches," AstraZeneca said.

As well as double-digit sales growth for Crestor, Astra also saw strong revenues from Symbicort, an asthma treatment, and Seroquel XR, a medicine for bipolar disorder.

But last month, the Anglo-Swedish firm cancelled further development of its antibody Motavizumab for the prevention of a respiratory virus - a move which forced it to write-down $445m in its results.

Also last month, US regulators further delayed approval of the company's heart drug Brilinta.

The firm returned $2.1bn to shareholders in 2010 after buying back shares and said it planned to hand over $4bn this year.

AstraZeneca employs more than 67,000 people worldwide including 11,000 in the UK, with sites at Macclesfield and Wilmslow in Cheshire, Luton, Loughborough, Edinburgh and Brixham in Devon.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites