AstraZeneca plc (ANZ) Predicts Earlier Return To Growth, Stock Rises

AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) (LON:AZN) projected that it will return to growth earlier than the consensus expectation of analysts. The pharmaceutical company expressed confidence that its revenues in 2017 will be broadly in line with that of 2013.

The stock price of the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company surged more than 3% to $61.93 per share as of this writing, around 11:24 A.M in New York.

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Analyst estimates

Data compiled by FactSet showed that analysts estimated that its 2013 sales at £15.54 billion will decline to £13.80 billion in 2017. Barclays projected that the sales of the pharmaceutical company will decline by 2.9% per year until 2018 compared with the 3.5% estimated sales group of its large-cap peers in Europe.

Patent expiration

AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) (LON:AZN) suffered a significant decline in revenues due to the expiration of patents of its top-selling medicines and the disposal of Aztra Tech and Aptium. The company is also struggling due to competition against lower-cost generic drugs.

The pharmaceutical company’s patent for Seroquel, a drug for patients with schizophrenia and Nexium for heartburn are set to expire in 2015. The patent for its best-selling statin drug, Crestor will expire in 2016.

AstraZeneca CEO focused on cost cutting, replenishing drug pipeline

Since joining AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) (LON:AZN) as CEO Pascal Soriot focused on cost cutting and replenishing its pipeline of new medicines to boost revenue. Last March, the pharmaceutical company decided to eliminate 3,000 jobs in sales, marketing, research and development until 2016. In the prior year, it also reduced its workforce by approximately 10,000 jobs.

AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) (LON:AZN) concentrated its efforts in developing branded and prescription drugs. The pharmaceutical company stated that it made progress in accelerating and replenishing its portfolio in three therapeutic areas including oncology, cardiovascular/metabolic disease, and respiratory, inflammation, and auto immune diseases.

Currently, its late-stage pipeline is composed of 11 Phase III programs, almost twice the number of its program a year earlier and 27 Phase II programs. AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) (LON:AZN) also initiated trials for its cancer immunotherapy combination portfolio and anticipates to achieve first data readouts in 2014 to 2015.

Last year, the pharmaceutical company acquired Pearl Therapeutics, a respiratory drug specialist for approximately $1.15 billion to expand its efforts in emerging markets by developing a new class of lung treatments known as LABA/LAMA drugs.