AstraZeneca has posted a 4% decline in second-quarter revenues at constant exchange rates,to $6.23 billion and core operating profit fell 10% to $2.06 billion, hit by patent expiries.

The company noted a 31% decline in the antipsychotic Seroquel (quetiapine) franchise to $438 million, while sales of the antihypertensive Atacand (candesartan) sank 37% to $166 million. In oncology, Arimidex (anastrozole) fell 39% to $83 million and Casodex (bicalutamide) decreased 7% to $96 million. Zoladex (goserelin) brought in $263 million (+5%).

Iressa (gefitinib) climbed 7% to $156 million and Faslodex (fulvestrant) increased 13% to reach $173 million. Revenues for the antiulcerant Nexium (esomeprazole) jumped 11% to $1.02 billion, while AstraZeneca's biggest-seller, the cholesterol blockbuster Crestor (rosuvastatin) decreased 4% to $1.48 billion, largely due to loss of exclusivity in Canada where sales sank 77%.

The asthma combo Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol) rose 8% to $842 million, while the Onglyza (saxagliptin) diabetes franchise partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb, brought in $102 million, up 28%. The antiplatelet drug Brilique/Brilinta (ticagrelor), which is seen as crucial to AstraZeneca's future prospects, had sales of $65 million, up from $51 million in the previous quarter.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca's chief executive (pictured), said the firm has made "real progress" in the quarter despite the impact of exclusivity loss for some brands. "We continue to invest in distinctive science," he said and while noting the recent failure of the rheumatoid arthritis drug fostamatinib, Dr Soriot said the late-stage pipeline "in our core therapy areas is growing, and has been further strengthened with the acquisitions of Omthera Pharmaceuticals and Pearl Therapeutics" and an anaemia collaboration signed yesterday with FibroGen.

The AstraZeneca pipeline now includes 81 projects, including eight new molecular entities either in Phase III or under regulatory review. In the first half of 2013, ten projects have been withdrawn.

Commenting on the results, Panmure Gordon analyst Savvas Neophytou noted that the positive mix of Nexium sales outside the USA (up 25%) and emerging markets growing 12% should boost AstraZeneca's share price. Mick Cooper at Edison Investment Research, said that "within the results there are some bright spots", noting that "Symbicort continues to grow strongly in the USA, there are further signs of Brilinta sales gaining momentum and it is growing well ahead of the market in China".