Strong Performance of AstraZeneca’s Brilinta and Farxiga in 2016


Feb. 28 2017, Updated 9:07 a.m. ET

Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease segment

The Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease (or CVMD segment) is the largest contributor of revenues for AstraZeneca (AZN). The CVMD segment contributed nearly 35.2% to the company’s total revenues in 2016, following a strong performance of Brilinta, Farxiga, Seloken, and Bydureon. This upswing was offset by lower sales of Onglyza, Byetta, Crestor, and Atacand.

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Brilinta, a growth platform product, is used to prevent blood clots in heart and blood vessels. The drug’s 2016 revenues reported a 39% operational increase to $839 million.

Brilinta’s sales rose 45% to $348 million, with an ~14% increase in its European markets sales to $258 million and an ~80% increase in its sales for emerging markets to $189 million at constant exchange rates.


Farxiga is used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults. It reported revenues of $835 million during 2016, a 72% growth in revenues at constant exchange rates. This includes 75% growth in sales in the US, 96% growth in sales in emerging markets, and 52% growth in sales in European markets.

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Onglyza, a diabetes product to control blood sugar levels, reported revenues of $720 million during 2016, a 6% decrease in revenues at constant exchange rates. This includes a 10% decrease in sales in the US markets, 4% decrease in sales in the emerging markets and 5% decrease in the European markets.


Used to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, Crestor contributed ~14.8% to AstraZeneca’s total 2016 revenues. At constant exchange rates, Crestor’s revenues fell 32% to $3.4 billion during 2016. In the US markets, the revenues fell 57% to ~$1.2 billion following the drug’s patent expiry in May 2016.

Outside the drug’s US markets, its Europe markets reported revenues of $866 million, a 4% decline due to competition from generic statins. Sales in emerging markets increased during 2016.

Crestor’s competitors are Lipitor from Pfizer (PFE), Zocor from Merck & Co. (MRK), Advicor from Abbott Laboratories (ABT), and Pravachol from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY).

Other CVMD products

Other products in this segment include Bydureon, Byetta, and Seloken. Bydureon’s revenues were flat at $578 million in 2016, while Byetta’s sales fell 19% to $254 million during 2016.

To divest any company-specific risk, investors can consider the iShares Global Healthcare ETF (IXJ), which holds ~1.8% of its total assets in AstraZeneca (AZN).


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