July 26, 2018 / 6:17 AM / a year ago

New drugs help as AstraZeneca battles through generic losses

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca's new drugs performed strongly in the second quarter, offering a glimpse of better times ahead as the company struggles with falling sales of cholesterol fighter Crestor due to generic competition.

Cancer medicines were a highlight, including good demand for Imfinzi, following U.S. approval of the immunotherapy in early lung cancer, and Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said the company remained on track for a return to product sales growth in 2018.

The drugmaker said on Thursday that total revenue rose 2 percent in dollar terms to $5.16 billion but core earnings per share, which exclude some items, fell 21 percent to 69 cents, reflecting investment behind new product launches.

Analysts, on average, had forecast earnings of 71 cents on revenue of $5.16 billion, Thomson Reuters data showed. For the full year, the company kept its financial guidance unchanged. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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