Drugmakers often live or die by their blockbusters. Since the drugs can make up a large percentage of total revenues, changes of the blockbusters often drive the overall changes in the top line.
In the first quarter, AstraZeneca
Those large gains helped the company raise revenue by 11%. And the bottom line looked even better with earnings per share up 20% after adjusting for restructuring and acquisition charges and a one-time tax gain.
After the strong quarter, AstraZeneca upped its full-year adjusted EPS guidance by $0.15 on the low end and $0.05 on the upper end. Everything will have to fall in place perfectly to reach the $6.32 per share it reached in 2009. Last year's earnings contained a large gain from selling pandemic flu vaccine, but unlike GlaxoSmithKline
AstraZeneca's near-term future hinges on the fate of its blood thinner, Brilinta, which is currently under review by U.S. and EU regulators. But gaining marketing approval may be the easiest part, as Brilinta will have to go up against heavyweight Plavix from Bristol-Myers Squibb
AstraZeneca may not have enough blockbusters in the pipeline to deal with its upcoming patent expirations, but while they're still free from generic competition, investors are getting to live the revenue-growth dream.