AstraZeneca sees $4B in COVID-19 vaccine sales

Drugmaker said in November that it would begin to take a 'modest' profit from the shot

AstraZeneca recorded a big jump in revenue on Thursday as it begins to take a profit from its coronavirus vaccine for the first time.

The company recorded full-year revenues of $37.4 billion, an increase of 38% from the year before at constant exchange rates. Part of the boost came from $4 billion in sales of its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford.

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Despite rising revenue, AstraZeneca reported a pre-tax loss of $265 million due to costs from its purchase of U.S. drug company Alexion Pharmaceuticals and new drug research.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said in November it would begin to take a "modest" profit from the COVID-19 shot, which it had been providing "at cost" — around $2 to $3 —following an agreement with Oxford. Other COVID-19 vaccine producers, such as Pfizer and Moderna, have been booking hefty profits on their shots all along.

Dr Tamara Joffe administer a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Mustafa Field of the Faiths Forum, during a pilot project of pop up vaccination drive called Vaxi Taxi in Kilburn, London, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021.  (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

In the three months to September, the company said revenue jumped by about 50%, to a record $9.9 billion. The increase was due to sales of more than $1 billion in COVID-19 vaccines and the inclusion for the first time of some $1.3 billion worth of revenue from its rare disease business unit following the recent acquisition of Alexion.

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AZN ASTRAZENECA PLC 66.70 -0.11 -0.16%

AstraZeneca forecast total group sales to rise by a "high teens percentage" in 2022, but said COVID-19 revenues would decline by a "a low-to-mid twenties percentage."

Chief executive Pascal Soriot said AstraZeneca had "delivered on our promise of broad and equitable access to our COVID-19 vaccine with 2.5 billion doses released for supply around the world."

"AstraZeneca continued on its strong growth trajectory in 2021, with industry-leading R&D (research and development) productivity, five of our medicines crossing new blockbuster thresholds, and the acquisition and integration of Alexion," he said.

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Soriot said the company would raise the dividend to shareholders by 10 cents to $2.90, the first increase in a decade.

AstraZeneca shares were trading about 3% higher at 8.62 pounds ($11.68) on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.