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ARM Innovation Hub
17 February, 2020 - 01:18 By Tony Quested

AstraZeneca wizard of Oz as £100m investment leads post Brexit charge

UK Big Biotech business AstraZeneca, rooted in Cambridge, has invested £100 million into its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Sydney, Australia to help Britain boost trade with global markets outside the EU.

AZ’s commitment was trumpeted by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab who said UK manufacturing and innovation would enable the trade relationship with Australia to further gather pace.

Raab welcomed the Cambridge-based company’s commitment to the Oz facility. The investment will go towards advanced digital technologies that are enhancing the way the company manufactures and delivers medicines to patients.

AstraZeneca supports 38,400 jobs in the UK and has fostered a strong base in Australia thanks, says Raab, to Britain’s attractiveness to businesses and investors there.

The UK-Australia trade relationship is already worth more than £17 billion and Raab believes this is set to increase post-Brexit.

The Foreign Secretary said: “I’m thrilled to have been able to see first-hand how British talent and innovation have enabled Cambridge-based AstraZeneca to announce £100 million investment into its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that will focus on sustainable healthcare which will ultimately benefit people around the world.

“This is another example of the great opportunities presented by flourishing UK-Australian trade and blossoming business links between our countries.”

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, said the Sydney investment would create fresh jobs while the new technology being harnessed would boost AZ’s push to do more for global sufferers of cancer and other diseases.

He said: “As an innovative UK-headquartered life sciences company, AstraZeneca is pleased to be making this important investment in Australia in some of the newest and most high-tech medicines manufacturing and production facilities in our global network.

“This investment will create new skilled jobs, enhance our international outlook and help us to go further for the patients that rely on our medicines around the world.”

AstraZeneca delivered a year of strong revenue growth supported by the launch of new medicines and further good progress on its pipeline with several approvals and data readouts, Pascal Soriot revealed.

He said these trends were set to continue in 2020, accompanied by growth in earnings and cash. In maintaining its focus on patients and science, the company remains on track to deliver its strategic ambitions, the CEO said.

Full-year product sales growth of 12 per cent to $23.565 billion included fourth-quarter sales of $6.250bn (+eight per cent). All three therapy areas and every sales region grew at CER in the quarter and over the full year. 

Sales of new medicines increased 59 per cent to $9.906bn, including new-medicine growth in emerging markets of 75 per cent to $1.865bn. 

New medicines represented 42 per cent of total product sales compared to 30 per cent in 2018. Chief among therapy areas oncology sales were up 44 per cent to $8.667bn.

Chinese, US and Japanese sales all increased while those in Europe declined.

Soriot said: “In the first full year of our return to growth, we made good progress in line with our strategy. 

“Results from our new medicines and Emerging Markets accompanied positive news for patients, most recently including regulatory approvals of Enhertu in breast cancer and Calquence in leukaemia. 

“Our collaborations also progressed at pace, including that with Daiichi Sankyo, while there were several regulatory approvals for new medicines in China at the end of the year, such as Lynparza in first-line ovarian cancer.

“Driven by a strong team, 2020 is anticipated to be another year of progress for AstraZeneca. We are becoming a better-balanced business, both regionally and through our medicines. This transition is a further step towards improving operating leverage and cash generation.”

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