AstraZeneca, on fast track of growth, sets revenue target at $80B by 2030

A decade ago, with AstraZeneca in decline and some investors urging the drugmaker to sell out to Pfizer, new CEO Pascal Soriot presented an audacious plan to hike revenue to $45 billion by 2023. Last year, the company achieved that goal with sales reaching $45.8 billion.

Emboldened by his success, Soriot is thinking big again. On Tuesday morning, ahead of an investor day event, AZ unveiled its new plan to swell its revenue to $80 billion by 2030. To fuel the growth the company expects to launch 20 new drugs in the rest of this decade, up from its previous projection of 15.

In a release, Soriot referred to the company’s “new era of growth” fueled by the “exciting growth of our innovative pipeline.” AZ added that many of its new medicines will have the potential to generate more than $5 billion in peak year revenue.

Tuesday's news sparked a 1% increase in the company's share price. 

The $80 billion figure is rare air. Last year, Johnson & Johnson was the lone company in the biopharma industry to top the mark with its $85.2 billion in sales, including contribtion from its medtech business. Roche, which also has a diagnostic unit, was next at 58.7 Swiss francs ($65.3 billion), followed by Merck at $60.1 million. AZ ranked No. 7 in revenue in the industry in 2023.

To achieve its new goal, AZ would need to grow by an average of 8% per year, a tough feat to accomplish considering the coming patent expirations of its two best-selling drugs, SGLT2 inhibitor Farxiga and cancer drug Tagrisso, which racked up sales of $6 billion and $5.8 billion respectively last year.

AZ’s growth goal through the rest of the decade is double the analyst consensus of 4%, which would put the company’s revenue at $66.8 billion, according to Intron Health.

The $39 billion buyout of rare disease specialist Alexion in 2021 helped AZ attain Soriot’s original revenue goal. Now the new stunning target makes one wonder if another major M&A is needed. In its presentation, AZ said it is “leveraging external and internal innovation to build pipeline of new modalities and technologies.”

AZ is off to a strong start in 2024 as its sales increased by 17% in the first quarter year over year and 6% sequentially. AZ has projected a revenue increase in the low double-digits this year.

The company has become an oncology powerhouse, increasing its sales of cancer drugs by 20% in 2023. The growth is epxected to continue as the company pointed to several oncology programs in phase 3 during its presentation (PDF) on Tuesday, including candidates for prostate (saruparib), breast (camizestrant, Dato-DXd) and lung (rilvegostomig, volrustomig) cancer.

With 12 blockbusters in 2023, AZ has one of the most diverse portfolios in the industry. In addition to its four oncology drugs that generated more than $1 billion each, the company has three rare disease blockbusters and three cardiovascular treatments that topped the $1 billion mark. Of the 12 blockbusters, nine saw year-over-year sales increases in 2023.

Since 2018, when its revenue bottomed out at $22.1 billion, AZ has more than doubled its revenue size. During Soriot's tenure, which began in August of 2012, AZ's average annual share price has increased from  $14.77 to $68.18. Accordingly, its market cap has risen from $59 billion to its present $238 billion.