AstraZenenca assesses two drugs for use against effects of Covid-19

AstraZeneca stock
AstraZeneca stock - (Copyright PA Media)
10:54am, Wed 29 Apr 2020
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Pharmaceutical giant AstraZenenca has said it is assessing the use of two of its drugs to combat the effects of Covid-19.

The UK-listed firm is evaluating Calquence – a drug used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia – to suppress inflammation in the lungs and other organs in Covid-19 patients.

And Farxiga – predominantly used for heart failure and kidney disease – is being assessed to see if it can potentially reduce organ failure.

Chief executive Pascal Soriot said: “I could not be prouder of how the AstraZeneca team has responded to the challenges of Covid-19.

“We moved quickly to maintain continuity of care, contribute to society, and use our scientific expertise to fight the pandemic.

“We hope our efforts to protect organs from damage, mitigate the cytokine storm and the associated hyperinflammatory state, and target the virus prove to be successful.”

On Wednesday, AstraZeneca also reported a jump in quarterly revenues and profits after benefiting from stockpiling in response to the pandemic.

It said it saw a “low to mid single-digit percentage benefit” from short-term inventory increases as an “indirect effect of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic”.

Revenues for the first three months of the year increased by 16% to 6.35 billion US dollars (£5.1 billion).

Meanwhile, pre-tax profits increased by 23% to 935 million dollars (£752 million) over the quarter.

Despite the boost to revenues and profits, it said guidance for trading during 2020 remains unchanged, although it said it does recognise “heightened risks and uncertainties” due to the pandemic.

Shares in the company were 0.8% higher at 8,253p after early trading on Wednesday.

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