AstraZeneca has generated $275m (£197m) in revenues from its Covid vaccine in the first three months of the year and shipped 48m doses to 120 countries through the global vaccine-sharing initiative Covax.
Most of the vaccine sales ($224m) were in Europe – as the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker reported overall quarterly revenues up 15% to $7.3bn, better than analysts had expected. New medicines, such as the diabetes drug Farxiga, contributed more than half of revenues. The firm made a pre-tax profit of $1.6bn, up 72% year-on-year.
US rivals Pfizer and Moderna expect to make billions of dollars from their coronavirus vaccines, but AstraZeneca has pledged to make its jab available on a not-for-profit basis during the current pandemic. It made a loss of 3 cents a share on the vaccine in the first quarter.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is seen as a lifeline for poorer countries, as it is cheaper and easier to store and transport than some of the other coronavirus vaccines being produced. The company said 80% of the Covax shipments went to low and middle-income countries. In total, it has so far supplied more than 300m vaccine doses to more than 165 countries.