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AstraZeneca recorded a 5 per cent drop in revenue last year, as competition from generics in the US hurt sales of the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker’s key product Crestor.

The company said revenues were $23bn in 2016, down from $24.7bn a year earlier and a touch below analysts’ expectations of $23.066bn. Core operating profit was down 7 per cent to $6.72bn, while core earnings per share were $4.31, down 5 per cent on the year but beating estimates of $4.24 per share.

The company warned that both total revenue and core earnings per share would suffer “low to mid single digit” percentage declines in 2017.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer, said that while the results “reflected the ongoing transition of our company”, 2017 had “the potential to be a turning point” for AstraZeneca as it neared the end of its patent-expiry period and brought new medicines to patients around the world.

“We anticipate defining data, in particular from our outstanding pipeline of Immuno-Oncology and targeted treatments. This year we have the opportunity to launch several life- changing medicines for cancer, respiratory and metabolic diseases. It is an exciting time as we rapidly approach the inflection point for our anticipated return to long-term growth, built on the solid foundations of a science-led pipeline,” he said.

The company recently expanded its widely watched trials for durvalumab, a potential breakthrough treatment for several forms of cancer.

The drug is among a group of therapies designed to use a patient’s own defence system to attack tumours, taking a radically different approach to conventional chemotherapy.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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