'Strong sales' reported by Astra Zeneca

Pharmaceutical Company Financials

Astra Zeneca has announced "strong sales" in the third quarter of 2006, with an 11 per cent increase overall and a five per cent increase outside the US.

Operating profit in the same period rose by 24 per cent to $2,106 million (1,103 million pounds), while earnings per share in the third quarter rose by 34 per cent to $1.01 (53 pence).

The increase was driven by the combined sales of Nexium, Seroquel Crestor, Arimidex and Symbicort, the group's five key growth products, which totalled takings of $3,322 million (1,744 million pounds).

David Brennan, chief executive officer, said: "For the third quarter we have produced another strong set of results and have increased our financial targets for the full year.

"While today's announcement of the clinical trial results for NXY-059 is disappointing, I remain committed to maintaining this operating and financial momentum and to strengthening the pipeline."

Meanwhile, Astra Zeneca's antipsychotic drug Seroquel, which was already used to treat schizophrenia and the manic phases of bipolar disorder, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of bipolar depression last month.

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