UK giant AstraZeneca this morning unveiled record quarterly profits, with operating profit up a whopping 34% to $1.5 billion, driven by a 9% jump in revenues to $5.7 billion.

Key products contributed to the firm’s strong performance. Of particular note, was the Losec follow-up Nexium (esomeprazole) – which rose 11% to cross the $1 billion dollar mark – while the antipsychotic Seroquel contributed $633 million to the firm’s coffers (up 39%) and Arimidex (anastrozole) for cancer added $256 million. And AstraZeneca is particularly proud of its cholesterol-lowering medication Crestor (rosuvastatin), which has now surpassed $1 billion dollars in sales over the past year and – during the last quarter – reaped some $273 million. The company will be hoping this product makes great strides now, after the US Food and Drug Administration ruled that Crestor did not present a greater risk to patients versus rival compounds [[15/03/05b]].

Sir Tom McKillop, Chief Executive, said: “These record profits derive from a strong sales performance, especially for our key growth products, and from ongoing productivity improvement.” The company continues to forecast full year earnings per share in the range of $2.35 to $2.50.