AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) said Thursday that its cholesterol drug Crestor is off to a solid start in the U.S. The drug garnered 1% of new prescriptions in the week of its Sept. 15 U.S. launch and 2% in more recent daily data.

Worldwide, Crestor has 150,000 patients. U.K.-based AstraZeneca is looking to eventually take 20% of the worldwide statin market by displacing Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) Lipitor as the best-selling cholesterol drug in the U.S. Things should get interesting, as the launch of Crestor is expected to set off a large-scale marketing war.

AstraZeneca is confident that Crestor is superior to the other statins on the $20 billion market. Test data shows that Crestor has a greater efficacy than Lipitor, while sharing a comparable safety profile. The company also believes that the drug offers a superior value, as the drug is offered at a flat price of $2.10 per day, regardless of dosage size.

According to CEO Sir Tom McKillop, "AstraZeneca is set to deliver top-tier financial performance." And the highly lucrative and equally competitive U.S. market will be one of the key catalysts. Recently launched and key growth products now account for 51% of the company's U.S. portfolio, up from 19% 18 months ago.

Also contributing to future performance will be its new cancer drug, Iressa, which currently reaches about 10,000 patients in the U.S. at $3 million per week. Further, the company believes that Nexium -- its new ulcer drug -- will eventually become the market leader despite the entry of generics.

Crestor's strong start is encouraging. However, Pfizer's Lipitor will be difficult to displace, as it is deeply entrenched in the U.S. market. That said, Crestor's superior efficacy and price value give AstraZeneca an excellent shot at dominating a lucrative market.

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