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AstraZeneca drug sales slide as key cancer drug news awaited

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AstraZeneca drug sales slide as key cancer drug news awaited

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LONDON (Reuters) – AstraZeneca’s <AZN.L> drug sales fell again in the second quarter, hit by loss of patents on blockbusters like cholesterol pill Crestor, as the company awaits results from a lung cancer trial seen as pivotal to its future. Investor anxiety over the so-called MYSTIC trial has been fuelled recently by speculation that Chief Executive Pascal Soriot could be about to be leave the company, a notion he played down in a memo to staff last week. Soriot hopes the second quarter will mark the nadir for the British drugmaker as the impact of patent losses dissipates and sales of newer medicines improve, particularly in cancer. Despite income from disposals and external deals, first-quarter revenue fell 10 percent in dollar terms to $5.05 billion, while core earnings per share (EPS) rose 5 percent to $87 cents. Industry analysts, on average, had forecast revenue of $5.0 billion and earnings of 80 cents, according to Thomson Reuters data. AstraZeneca reiterated its outlook for the full year.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler)
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