AstraZeneca Lost Money on COVID-19 Vaccine in First Half of 2021
AstraZeneca said losses on Vaxzevria were the main factor that shaved seven percentage points off its Reported Gross Profit Margin, which fell to 73.5 percent in the first half of the year.
AstraZeneca, which pledged to provide its COVID-19 vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic, said Thursday that losses in the first half of the year on its vaccine shaved 4 cents off the pharmaceutical giant’s earnings per share.
Sales of Vaxzevria, the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, generated $1.17 billion in revenue during the first six months of the year, including $894 million in the second quarter, according to AstraZeneca’s earnings report, released on July 29.
But while these revenues narrowed AstraZeneca’s hit from offering the COVID-19 vaccine at no profit, the company said losses on Vaxzevria were the main factor that shaved seven percentage points off its Reported Gross Profit Margin, which fell to 73.5 percent in the first half of the year.
“The performance predominantly reflected the significant impact of the equitable supply, at no profit to AstraZeneca, of the pandemic COVID-19 vaccine, together with an increasing impact from profit-sharing arrangements,” AstraZeneca said in the report.
AstraZeneca said losses on Vaxzevria shaved three cents off earnings per share in the first quarter, and one cent in the second quarter. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, AstraZeneca lost $40 million on its COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter, and $13 million in the second quarter.
The company reported a net profit in the second quarter of $550 million, missing the Factset consensus forecast of $1.19 billion. AstraZeneca’s net profit in the second quarter of 2020 came in at $756 million.
At the same time, net profit in the first half of 2021 came in at $2.1 billion, 42 percent higher than $1.5 billion in the first half of last year.
“AstraZeneca has delivered another period of strong growth thanks to robust performances across all regions and disease areas,” said AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, in a statement commenting on the results.
On Thursday, AstraZeneca said it intends to seek U.S. approval for its COVID-19 vaccine later this year. The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said the application has been delayed because the company decided to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for full regulatory approval, rather than the fast-track emergency use authorization.
Among the concerns AstraZeneca will have to address are reports that the vaccine may be linked to rare blood clots, which have caused some countries to limit its use in younger people.
AstraZeneca has promoted its relatively cheap, easy-to-handle shot as a “vaccine for the world” and has already received authorization from more than 170 countries. The company said it provided about 90 percent of the doses distributed by the COVAX facility for low- and middle-income countries in the first half of the year.
AstraZeneca is the second drugmaker to say it has delivered more than 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine globally, following Pfizer’s announcement on Wednesday.
By Tom Ozimek
The Associated Press contributed to this report.Follow Tom on Twitter: @OZImekTOM
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