(Reuters) –AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine delivered $275 million in first-quarter sales while shaving three cents per share from earnings, the drugmaker said on Friday as it posted better-than-expected results and forecast second half growth.
This is the first time the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has given financial details of the distribution and sales of the vaccine, which it developed with Oxford University. It has said it will not make a profit from the shot during the pandemic.
The vaccine revenue included delivery of about 68 million doses, AstraZeneca said, adding that sales in Europe, where it faces a legal case, were $224 million, in emerging markets $43 million and $8 million in the rest of the world.
Sales of $275 million for 68 million doses equates to a price tag of around $4 per shot.
The results come after a bruising start to the year as the drugmaker struggles with production of its vaccine and faces a legal battle after cutting deliveries to Europe, while regulators probe rare blood clots in people who got the shot.
Shares in AstraZeneca rose 3% to 7,621 pence at 0744 GMT. The stock, which hit record highs in July 2020 due to optimism around the vaccine, ended last year 4% lower.
“This is good enough,” Barclays analysts in a note.
AstraZeneca was one of the leaders in the global race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Its cheap and easily transportable shot was hailed as a milestone in the fight against the crisis, but has since faced a series of setbacks.
In presentation slides, AstraZeneca said it was ramping up vaccine supplies and production yields were improving, without giving any details.
Pfizer, whose COVID-19 vaccine is several times more costly per dose than AstraZeneca’s, in February forecast $15 billion for its share of sales from the vaccine, co-developed with partner BioNTech, with analysts expecting as much as $18 billion on average.
BioNTech expects close to 10 billion euros ($12.1 billion) in revenues from committed vaccine deliveries this year but raised the prospect of more supply deals.
Moderna in February said it was expecting sales of $18.4 billion from its own vaccine this year.
Before AstraZeneca’s earnings, market researcher GlobalData said it expected annual sales of $278 million this year and next for the drugmaker’s coronavirus vaccine, branded Vaxzevria.
AstraZeneca said it would submit an application for U.S. emergency use in the coming weeks, adding global data from late-stage trials and emerging real-world data after a roll-out.
The vaccine’s efficacy data has been questioned in the past.
While the coronavirus continues to have a mixed impact on drugmakers, AstraZeneca’s core business has proved resilient.
The drugmaker stuck to its forecast for 2021 on Friday and predicted better times ahead.
Its guidance does not include any impact from sales of the vaccine and its $39 billion purchase of Alexion, which is expected to close in the third quarter.
Total revenue of $7.32 billion for the three months to March exceeded analysts’ expectations of $6.94 billion, while core earnings of $1.63 cents per share beat a consensus of $1.48.
Quarterly sales growth was driven by best-selling lung cancer drug Tagrisso, up 17% to $1.15 billion, while revenues from heart and diabetes drug Farxiga jumped to a better-than-expected $625 million, on new prescriptions for heart failure.
($1 = 0.8262 euros)
Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru, Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Alistair Smout in London; Editing by John Stonestreet, Josephine Mason and Alexander Smith
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