AstraZeneca boss Soriot backs Britain as drug maker’s income soar

The boss of drug maker AstraZeneca mentioned Britain is a greater place to do enterprise than it was a yr in the past – however he warned that extra enhancements are wanted.

In what might be seen as a warning to the most important events forward of a basic election, French chief govt Pascal Soriot mentioned that there was work to do to spice up funding in innovation.

But he was extra constructive in regards to the UK than he was final yr when he referred to as it a ‘very unattractive’ place to do enterprise.

In April he blasted excessive taxes in Britain, saying it was a troublesome nation during which to determine pharmaceutical manufacturing bases as he touted China as the following massive progress area.

But yesterday he mentioned: ‘We are certainly looking at what future investments we could do in the UK and elsewhere.’

Upbeat: Astrazeneca's French chief exec Pascal Soriot (pictured) is more positive about the UK than he was last year when he called it a 'very unattractive' place to do business

Upbeat: Astrazeneca’s French chief exec Pascal Soriot (pictured) is extra constructive in regards to the UK than he was final yr when he referred to as it a ‘very unattractive’ place to do enterprise

The FTSE 100 boss mentioned it was now simpler to hold out medical trials and praised the Chancellor for introducing tax insurance policies to ‘incentivise companies to invest’.

‘The environment in the UK for life sciences today is different from what it was almost a year ago,’ mentioned Soriot, who was appointed in 2012. The capability to do medical trials has improved rather a lot.

‘The Government and NHS have done a lot to facilitate clinical trials. The chancellor has introduced tax policies helping incentivise companies to invest.

‘Finally, the industry and the Government have found a compromise in terms of those rebates that were really affecting companies and reducing incentives to invest.

There is more to do to increase investment in innovation in the UK but clearly we are moving in the right direction and in a much better environment. There is more to come.’

It got here because the Anglo-Swedish pharma big greater than doubled annual income final yr due to bumper gross sales of most cancers remedies.

Profits hit £5.5billion in 2023, up from £1.9billion the yr earlier than, as gross sales rose 3 per cent to £36.3billion. Excluding Covid medicine, gross sales had been up 13 per cent.

Cancer drug gross sales jumped 19 per cent to £14.6billion and account for 40 per cent of revenues in contrast with 35 per cent in 2022.

And the London-listed agency mentioned income and earnings this yr could be lifted by blockbuster oncology medicines.

Revenue and core earnings per share – a measure of revenue – is anticipated to rise by a ‘low double-digit to low teens percentage’ in 2024.

But shares fell 6.4 per cent, or 667p, to 9823p as outcomes for the ultimate three months of the yr weren’t as robust as anticipated.

It reported income of £712million between October and December, 15 per cent greater than a yr earlier however lower than analysts had anticipated – the miss resulting from a step-up in analysis and growth spending and value reductions for some medicines in rising markets.

‘Pharma companies typically prosper from having a mixture of blockbuster products, treatments with limited or no competition, and a healthy pipeline of new drugs,’ mentioned Russ Mould, funding director at AJ Bell.

‘Astra is under constant pressure to keep driving growth. That means success in the lab as well as products on the market. Its pipeline looks busy, but success is never guaranteed.’