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Covid vaccine maker AstraZeneca logs loss as costs jump

By AFP
12 November 2021   |   9:55 am
British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which is selling its Covid vaccine at cost price, said Friday that it had fallen into a loss in the third quarter.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 6, 2021 a box containing vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is pictured at the Foch hospital in Suresnes, on the start of a vaccination campaign for health workers with the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. – Canada’s most populous province of Ontario on May 11, 2021 suspended use of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine as a first dose, citing new data showing increased risks of blood clotting. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)

British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which is selling its Covid vaccine at cost price, said Friday that it had fallen into a loss in the third quarter.

The company posted a net loss of $1.65 billion (1.44 billion euros) compared with a profit after tax of around $650 million in the third quarter last year, a statement said.

AstraZeneca said it experienced higher costs in the latest July-September period following its mega takeover of US biotech company Alexion, as well as increased research and development expenses across multiple programmes, including its Covid treatments.

The group added that revenue from its Covid vaccine totalled $2.22 billion in the year to date following delivery of around 580 million doses worldwide.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine against the coronavirus pandemic was developed with the University of Oxford.

Last month, the drugs company revealed positive results from a trial of a treatment for Covid-19 symptoms.

Made from a combination of two antibodies, the AZD7442 treatment had been undergoing final clinical trials to assess its safety and efficacy.

“AstraZeneca’s scientific leadership continues to provide strong revenue growth and exceptional pipeline delivery… including our long-acting antibody combination showing promise in both prevention and treatment of Covid-19,” chief executive Pascal Soriot said in Friday’s statement.

“The addition of Alexion furthers our commitment to bring transformative therapies to patients around the world, and I am proud of our colleagues’ ongoing dedication and focus.”

AstraZeneca added that group revenue soared 50 percent in the third quarter to almost $9.9 billion.

The group completed its $39-billion takeover of Alexion earlier this year.

Since taking the helm at AstraZeneca in 2012, Soriot has pushed the group into lucrative treatments such as cancer therapies, and the Alexion takeover gives it more heft in areas such as treating blood disorders.

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