What happened

Shares of AstraZeneca (AZN 0.28%) were jumping 4.9% as of 10:43 a.m. EDT on Friday. The gain came after the big drugmaker announced its first-quarter results before the market opened.

So what

AstraZeneca reported revenue in the first quarter of $7.32 billion, up 15% year over year. This result topped the Wall Street consensus estimate of $7.1 billion.

$1 bill folded into an arrow pointing up

Image source: Getty Images.

The company posted earnings of $1.19 per share, a 100% year-over-year increase. AstraZeneca reported core earnings (which exclude profits that aren't part of its main business) of $1.63, up 55% year over year. The average analysts' estimate was for earnings per share of $0.75. 

AstraZeneca's improvement was driven primarily by several of its top-selling drugs. Cancer therapy Tagrisso generated sales of $1.15 billion in Q1, a 17% year-over-year increase. Sales for diabetes drug Farxiga soared 54% to $625 million. The company also recorded revenue of $275 million for its COVID-19 vaccine, which it's selling at cost during the pandemic.

Now what

One good quarter will only give the big pharma stock a temporary bounce. What really matters is how AstraZeneca will perform over the longer term. The company remains optimistic about its prospects. AstraZeneca expects total revenue this year will jump by "a low-teens percentage" and looks for even more impressive growth with its core earnings.