AstraZeneca’s top line got hit hard in Q3, and much of the pain came from plummeting Crestor sales. But the British drugmaker had its underperformance in a couple of key therapy areas to blame, too.
Product sales of $5.03 billion landed 14% below consensus estimates, Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson wrote in a Thursday note to clients, with respiratory and diabetes sales both coming in weak. Symbicort, in particular, felt the burn from a rebate adjustment during the quarter, while GLP-1 products Bydureon and Byetta suffered on competition.
The showing was “a reminder of AstraZeneca’s exposure to these payer pressured areas,” Anderson wrote. And Crestor and Nexium, which declined by 44% and 20%, respectively, didn’t make things any better.
Results weren’t all bad, though. New cancer-fighter Tagrisso put up $133 million--a tally Anderson dubbed “solid.” And a tax benefit of $0.36 helped take EPS to $1.32 to top analysts’ 98-cent predictions handily.
But AZ will need its other portfolio meds to step it up, especially now that blood-thinner Brilinta won’t be putting up the numbers the company once hoped for. Early last month, the British pharma giant flopped its second trial in less than 6 months, dashing hopes for a new indication in peripheral artery disease (PAD). And in response, Brilinta chief Ludovic Helfgott called the med’s $3.5 billion sales target “unrealistic.”
AstraZeneca is also looking to PARP inhibitor Lynparza to come up big, but that med may soon have some competition from a closely watched prospect. Massachusetts biotech Tesaro is working to bring its niraparib to the prostate cancer market. And Pfizer--which recently wrapped a buyout of California’s Medivation--has its talazoparib in the works, too, though that drug is further off.