AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot aims for 15 new drug launches by 2030
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot on Thursday unveiled ambitious plans to launch 15 new drugs by 2030 — and he’s wasting no time, with 30 Phase III trial initiations planned this year.
Soriot spies blockbuster potential in 10 of those programs, he said on the company’s quarterly earnings call, including the company’s oral SERD camizestrant in ER+/HER2- breast cancer and CinCor’s baxdrostat in hypertension.
“While the portfolio has a relatively low exposure to loss of exclusivity compared to peers, we take a very proactive approach, which starts many years in advance,” he added.
AstraZeneca’s sales were $44.3 billion last year, with revenue and earnings per share coming in at the higher end of a range that Soriot noted was “upgraded twice during the year.”
However, those gains were partially offset by slipping Covid sales, including from the company’s viral vector vaccine Vaxzevria, which fell more than 50% in 2022. Making matters worse, the FDA yanked its emergency use authorization for AstraZeneca’s antibody combo treatment Evusheld last month, based on findings that it works on fewer than 10% of circulating variants.
Soriot expects that Covid product sales will continue to decline significantly this year, “with minimal revenue from Vaxzevria.” That’s factoring in some potential sales from its next-generation antibody for immunocompromised kids and adults, AZD3152, which is still in testing but could launch in the second half of this year if all goes well.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca reported “strong double-digit growth” in Q4 for a slate of cancer drugs including Tagrisso, Lynparza, Imfinzi and Imjudo, and Calquence, despite those drugs coming in just below consensus, according to a note from SVB Securities analysts. Enhertu sales were up 224% in Q4, according to Dave Fredrickson, executive VP of AstraZeneca’s oncology unit, achieving “approximately 50% new patient share in second line HER+ metastatic breast cancer and over 40% of HR+/HER2-low post-chemo new patient share.”
For Imfinzi, Fredrickson noted “strong initial demand” for the Imjudo combo following recent approvals in the US for first-line non-small cell lung cancer and Japan for hepatocellular carcinoma. The drug raked in $752 million last quarter, up 19% from the year prior, according to AstraZeneca’s results.
Calquence brought in $588 million in Q4, up nearly 50%.
“In the US we saw destocking in the quarter, which reduced by half the third quarter inventory build following the launch of the maleate tablet formation. We expect this inventory build to be fully depleted by the end of the first quarter this year,” Fredrickson said.
There are a few programs that Soriot won’t be taking along for the ride, including two early-stage cancer drugs and a mid-stage candidate for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. AstraZeneca also revealed on Thursday that it’s cutting some trials for Fasenra and an experimental IL-33 antibody.