Is AstraZeneca’s $80B Revenue Goal By 2030 a Bridge Too Far?

AstraZeneca's $80B goal/Nicole Bean, AstraZeneca

Pictured: AstraZeneca with plans to launch 20 new medicines in six years/Nicole Bean for BioSpace, AstraZeneca

At Tuesday’s Investor Day 2024 event, AstraZeneca laid out an ambitious plan to reach $80 billion in total revenue by 2030—up from $45.8 billion in 2023—and to launch 20 new medicines by the end of the decade. CEO Pascal Soriot declared it’s a “new era of growth” for the U.K.-based company that he contends will be achieved through its existing portfolio, as well as 20 new therapies, “many with the potential to generate more than $5 billion in peak year revenues.”

Why should we believe AstraZeneca can meet this lofty goal of nearly doubling sales? In a presentation to investors on Tuesday, Soriot said the company has a track record of success—specifically, by delivering last year on its ambitious $45 billion revenue goal set a decade ago, up from $22.1 billion in 2018.

No one can deny that from 2018 to 2023 AstraZeneca delivered strong and consistent growth. As analysts from Zacks Equity Research noted this week, the company “has been quite successful with its new products and almost every new product it has launched in recent years has done well.”

However, as Bloomberg Television anchor Guy Johnson pointed out in Tuesday’s interview with CFO Aradhana Sarin, AstraZeneca’s $80 billion revenue target by 2030 implies 7% to 8% topline growth over that period and “the market doesn’t see you generating those sort of numbers, or hasn’t up until now.” Johnson then very directly asked, “What is the market missing about the potential this company has that will get it to those kinds of growth rates?”

Sarin acknowledged it’s a “bold ambition” for AstraZeneca to reach by the end of the decade. At the same time, the CFO boasted that “the breadth and scope of our medicines is truly incredible,” noting that currently oncology represents approximately 40% of the company’s business with the expectation that cancer drugs will generate “very strong double-digit growth.”

In an interview Tuesday with CNBC, Sarin said AstraZeneca’s goal in oncology is to have medicines that can potentially treat half of all cancers by 2030. Ultimately, she said, the company is looking to replace chemotherapy with antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and to replace radiation therapy with radiopharmaceuticals. “It will take time, but we think we have the technologies today to start replacing them,” Sarin told CNBC. “We already have drugs filed with the FDA, for example, to replace chemotherapy in certain areas.” 

Zacks Equity Research in its note to investors said AstraZeneca is working on strengthening its oncology product portfolio through label expansions of existing products and advancing its pipeline of novel cancer drugs. The analysts called out Dato-DXd, an ADC being developed in partnership with Daiichi Sankyo, as an important oncology candidate under review by the FDA for nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer and HR+ HER2- breast cancer.

In the short term, Jefferies analysts in a Tuesday note said that 2024 “has fewer major pipeline catalysts” for AstraZeneca and the “much-needed” Dato-DXd approval is “unlikely” until closer to year’s end “at best.” As a result, the analysts wrote, they are putting a hold rating on the company’s stock. While AstraZeneca is relying heavily on its growth projections on about a dozen cancer drugs that it expects will be blockbusters, Jefferies said “R&D assets outside oncology are largely being ignored, offering significant longer-term upside optionality.”

It will be interesting to see if AstraZeneca can once again meet an ambitious revenue goal. Will the company be able to nearly double sales by 2030? Soriot has delivered previously on his sky-high promises to investors. Now the hard work really begins.                         

Greg Slabodkin is the news editor at BioSpace. You can reach him at greg.slabodkin@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.     

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