AstraZeneca, the UK drug giant, announced its results just as PharmaTimes News Online was going to press this morning – unveiling a massive 45% jump in operating profits for the third quarter to $1.7 billion dollars as revenues witnessed a 9% boost to $5.8 billion. Five key growth products led the pack – the antiulcerant Nexium (esomeprazole), Crestor (rosuvastatin) for cholesterol-lowering, the asthma drug Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol), Arimidex (anastrazole) for cancer and its antipsychotic Seroquel (quetiapine) – with combined sales up 25% to $2.7 billion.

Nexium topped the bill, reaping in excess of $1.1 billion dollars for the three-month period, up 18%. However, others also saw good growth: Crestor was boosted 23% to $325 million, with a 6.8% share of the US statin market in mid-October, Symbicort jumped 28% to $240 million, Arimidex soared 36% to $303 million and Seroquel rose 32% to $706 million.

The company now anticipates earnings per share between $2.85 and $2.95 for the full year. Sir Tom McKillop, Chief Executive, said: “A continued strong sales performance, especially for the five key growth products, together with benefits arising from productivity initiatives across the entire company has produced an outstanding result for the nine months, and is reflected in an increase in our financial targets for the full year.”