The spate of negative product news at AstraZeneca is likely to have a significant impact on the company’s revenue growth, according to research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie, which has cut its 2003-2008 compound annual growth rate for the firm to 6.7% from 9.2%.

If accurate, this predicted rate of growth would lead to AstraZeneca reporting revenues of $23.8 billion dollars in 2008, over $3 billion dollars below Wood Mackenzie’s previous projections.

AstraZeneca was hit by three major setbacks in the final quarter of 2004. Exanta (ximelegatran), a clotbuster considered a key product in firm’s pipeline, was rejected by the US Food and Drug Administration in October [[11/10/04b]]. Meanwhile, its cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor (rosuvastatin) became the subject of mounting safety concerns [[11/01/05a]] [[24/11/04d]] and trial data have revealed that there was no overall survival benefit amongst patients taking its non-small cell lung cancer agent, Iressa (gefitinib) [[05/01/05a]] [[20/12/04b]]. And to add to the company’s woes, the widespread availability of cheaper, alternative proton pump inhibitors has curbed the growth prospects for its gastrointestinal drug Nexium (esomeprazole).

In its revised forecasts, Wood Mackenzie predicts that AstraZeneca will now command a 4% share of the global pharmaceutical market by 2008, down from previous forecast of 4.5%. The main casualty is the company’s oncology franchise; AstraZeneca’s share of this market is forecast to fall from 9.2% in 2003 to 6.9% in 2008. The cardiovascular franchise is expected to grow from $3.9 billion dollars to $6.4 billion dollars between 2003 and 2008, but any more negative news on Crestor could seriously jeopardise these projections, according to Wood Mackenzie.