AstraZeneca shows more solid gains in China on respiratory

U.K.-based AstraZeneca ($AZN) continued a nice run in emerging markets and China in the third quarter as respiratory pulled it to double-digit growth.

In the second quarter, AstraZeneca was lifted in emerging markets and China well above peers as its treatments for asthma and COPD met squarely with large patient populations that need chronic maintenance treatment. Pulmicort sales were up 43% with the leading product in China for the company clocking nearly $500 million annually.

At the same time Symbicort sales jumped 64%.

AstraZeneca's Luke Miels

Luke Miels, executive vice president for Global Product and Portfolio Strategy, Global Medical Affairs and Corporate Affairs, said on the Nov. 5 earnings call the song remained the same in the third quarter.

"Symbicort and Pulmicort both have notable growth in emerging markets, particularly in China. And China, specifically, represents an opportunity with a large unmet need in terms of untreated patient populations, both in asthma, but also COPD," Miels told analysts.

"Pulmicort was up 47% and remains our leading product in China by sales. Substantial growth potential continues to exist in the market with trends shifting from acute treatment to chronic maintenance treatment; the treatment expansion from large tier cities to more rural and community-based treatment centers."

Symbicort sales in China surged 50% to $95 million, Miels said.

In constant currency, sales in the third-quarter rose 11% China, putting the company up 10% to $622 million in the first nine months of the year, which Miels said was "strong growth."

The company however was quiet on some interesting moves this quarter in Asia.

In October, HK-based Hutchison MediPharma (HMP) said it had completed enrollment in a global Phase II study of savolitinib it is developing with AstraZeneca. Interim data is expected to be published at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in 2016.

In Japan in September, AstraZeneca granted Daiichi Sankyo an exclusive license to market its FluMist Quadrivalent, a live attenuated vaccine, delivered nasally, that is pending regulatory approval.

- here's the release (PDF) and presentation (PDF)