Shares of AstraZeneca plc (LON: AZN) are down about 5.0% on Friday after the pharmaceutical giant said the cost of developing its COVID-19 vaccine swung it to a net loss in the fiscal third quarter.
Q3 financial results
AstraZeneca reported $1.65 billion in net loss – a massive downturn from $651 million it posted in Q3 profit last year. Before taxes, it lost $2.0 billion in the recent quarter versus the year-ago figure of $853 million in profit.
The biotech firm, however, noted a significant YoY increase of 50% in revenue that printed at $9.87 billion. Q3 was the first quarter when revenue saw a boost from Alexion Pharmaceuticals that AstraZeneca bought in July for $39 billion.
COVID-19 vaccine update
According to AstraZeneca, sales of its COVID-19 vaccine added 1 cent per share to its quarterly earnings, but the cost of development resulted in 3 cents of per-share loss since the start of 2021.
The British-Swedish multinational expects limited profit from the Coronavirus vaccine in the fiscal fourth quarter. New orders are likely to progressively transition the segment to modest profitability.
In the current quarter, AstraZeneca expects to generate COVID-19 vaccine sales primarily from the original pandemic agreements. It is, however, confident that new orders will contribute a little too.
For the full year, AstraZeneca continues to call for up to $5.40 of core EPS and an annualised growth of just over 20% in revenue, excluding the COVID-19 vaccine. In the earnings press release: CEO Pascal Soriot said:
Our broad portfolio of medicines and diversified geographic exposure provides a robust platform for long-term sustainable growth. Following accelerated investment in upcoming launches after positive data flow, we expect a solid finish to the year.