JPM24: Riding label expansions and launches, AZ plots course toward 'industry-leading growth' by 2030

With a late-stage pipeline spanning more than 120 clinical trials and a firm grasp of five major disease areas, AstraZeneca appears confident heading into 2024. But the drugmaker also has its sights set on a farther goalpost: 2030.

By that year, AZ aims to deliver “industry-leading growth” and be at least a top-3 player in each of its five focus areas. Those fields are oncology, cardiovascular disease, renal and metabolism (CVRM), respiratory and immunology (R&I), vaccines and immunotherapies (V&I) and rare diseases.

If certain analyst models don’t paint the same rosy long-term picture, that's because new indications and the 15 new meds AZ plans to market by 2030 aren’t factored into the analyses, Chief Financial Officer Aradhana Sarin said during a presentation (PDF) at the 42nd annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

“We know not everything’s gonna work out,” the CFO acknowledged. “But I think there are multiple elements where I don’t think we still get credit.”

Some analysts have, however, tracked a strong outlook for AZ until the end of the decade. TD Cowen projects the company will deliver sales growth of 8% through the rest of the decade, which would likely place AZ ahead of all but two of its peers, the analysts wrote in a Q3 Pharma Pulse report.

In the shorter term, AZ aims to deliver double-digit growth rates, on average, from 2021 to 2025. The drugmaker is “very much on track” to meet that goal, Sarin said.

Meanwhile, recent deals have expanded AstraZeneca’s reach across its disease areas. For one, the company’s recent licensing deal with Eccogene could give it a slice of the hot obesity market, the company figures.

In November, AstraZeneca shelled out $185 million, plus up to $1 billion in future milestone payments, for Eccogene's oral GLP-1 prospect.

Shortly after bringing the GLP-1 into its fold, the company turned to another growing market with a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) acquisition.

Buying vaccine maker Icosavax cushions AstraZeneca’s limited vaccine portfolio with Icosavax’s lead candidate, a combination RSV and human metapneumovirus (hMPV) vaccine dubbed IVX-A12. While AZ has already made an entrance in the RSV space with its Sanofi-partnered infant immunization antibody Beyfortus, the vaccine arena represents an entirely different opportunity for the company. 

The deals were just two of the several AstraZeneca inked last year. Only time will tell if the trend will continue into the New Year, as AZ doesn't "need to do anything,” Sarin stressed.

“But as that strategy evolves, these things happen," Sarin explained.