British pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca said that its COVID-19 jab generated US$1.2bn in sales in the first half of the year as global vaccination programmes accelerated.
Sales more than tripled to US$894mn in the three months to June, from US$275mn in the three months to March, it said in a statement.
AstraZeneca shipped 319mn doses in the first half, including US$572mn of sales in Europe and US$455mn in emerging markets.
The jab is one of the world’s leading vaccines and has been vital in the UK’s speedy vaccination drive – which enabled England’s economy to fully reopen this month.
AstraZeneca’s news came one day after US drugmaker Pfizer lifted its annual revenue and profit projections on surging demand for its rival COVID-19 vaccine made with Germany’s BioNTech.
“We have made dramatic progress with our COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria,” said AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot.
“As of today, AstraZeneca and our partners have released one billion doses to more than 170 countries.”
Soriot led the charge to make AstraZeneca one of the first pharmaceutical companies in the world to produce a vaccine against COVID-19.
The development of the vaccine with scientists at Oxford University – and their decision to make it available at cost without making a profit – has made the Anglo-Swedish firm a household name.
Due to this decision, AstraZeneca’s performance is dwarfed by that of Pfizer – which forecasts US$33.5bn in COVID-19 jab sales this year.
AstraZeneca added Thursday that group’s net profit jumped 40 per cent to US$2.1bn in the first half of 2021. Total revenues increased by almost a quarter to US$15.5bn.