AstraZeneca has posted a 5% rise in third-quarter revenues to $6.54 billion, helped by strong sales of the antiplatelet drug Brilinta and its respiratory and diabetes drugs, although core operating profit fell 13% to $1.77 billion.

Revenues for the antiulcerant Nexium (esomeprazole) edged up 1% (constant exchange rates) to $922 million, helped by having no generic competition yet in the USA, while AstraZeneca's biggest-seller, the cholesterol blockbuster Crestor (rosuvastatin), slipped 1% to $1.34 billion.

The respiratory drugs Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol) and Pulmicort (budesonide) rose 15% and 17% to $967 million and $205 million respectively, while Onglyza (saxagliptin) for diabetes brought in $220 million, up 139%. That leap and the one for Bydureon (exenatide extended-release), up 43% to $125 million, was a result of AstraZeneca now booking 100% of their sales after buying out Bristol-Myers Squibb’s stake in the firm’s diabetes alliance.

Brilique/Brilinta (ticagrelor), which is crucial to AstraZeneca's future prospects, had sales of $127 million, up 75%. In oncology, Zoladex (goserelin) brought in $240 million (-2%), while Iressa (gefitinib) fell 4% to $157 million, but Faslodex (fulvestrant) increased 11% to $187 million.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca's chief executive, noted “our third consecutive quarter of revenue growth”, stressing that Brilinta, respiratory and diabetes, “our three core franchises”, increased sales by 38%, “supported by continued selective allocation of sales and marketing resources”.

Dr Soriot added that the company has chosen to invest in our rapidly developing pipeline that will continue to create value for AstraZeneca into 2015 and beyond”. The AstraZeneca pipeline now includes 107 projects in the clinic and 14 in late-stage development.

The company has raised its full-year 2014 forecasts for the second time this year and revenues should increase in low single-digit digits at CER. Core earnings per share are expected to decline 10%, better than anticipated in previous guidance.

Myalept sold to Aegerion for $325 million

AstraZeneca also announced that it is selling Myalept (metreleptin) , its approved treatment for generalised lipodystrophy, to Aegerion Pharmaceuticals.

Aegerion will pay $325 million upfront to acquire the global rights to Myalept, subject to an existing distributor licence with Shionogi covering Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Luke Miels, global product and portfolio strategy chief at AstraZeneca, said the divestment “reinforces our focus on core strategic priorities.