First quarter profit surge for AstraZeneca

Anglo-Swedish drugs giant AstraZeneca said on Thursday that first-quarter pre-tax profit leapt 38 percent to 2.044 billion dollars (1.643 billion euros) compared with the same period the previous year.

During the three months to March 31, sales climbed by eight percent to 6.180 billion dollars, the group added.

Astrazeneca said that combined sales of five key growth products – Nexium, Seroquel, Crestor, Arimidex and Symbicort – soared by 25 percent. Sales of stomach ulcer drug Nexium climbed 16 percent to 1.189 billion dollars, while cholesterol buster Crestor surged 45 percent to 387 million dollars.

Asthma product Symbicort sales rose 21 percent to 227 million dollars, and breast cancer drug Arimidex jumped 38 percent to 335 million.

Sales of the antipsychotic treatment Seroquel, meanwhile, climbed 29 percent to 807 million dollars.

In morning trade on the London Stock Exchange, the share price of AstraZeneca fell 0.53 percent to 2,975 pence.