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AstraZeneca CFO: 'We've come a long way in our oncology portfolio'

AstraZeneca (AZN) has long been in the oncology and other disease spaces, but rose to popularity in recent years with the success of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The company has since withdrawn the vaccine due to low demand, and after rare side effects were reported, but is once again an investor favorite after sharing recent data on its cancer drugs.

One of its best-performing lung cancer drugs, Tagrisso, first approved in 2017, has proven it can reduce the risk of disease progression by 84% in patients with a type of Stage 3 lung cancer. Those results won it a standing ovation from attendees at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago. The company also revealed a CAR-T therapy candidate — an immunotherapy that is crafted from a person's own immune system to fight cancer — that could reduce tumors in liver cancer patients. In addition, the company is working on a new breast cancer treatment.

A prescription bottle named osimertinib (brand name: Tagrisso) is seen on a table at Jill Feldman's home in Deerfield, Ill., Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. Lung cancer patient and advocate Jill Feldman takes pills at home that shrink tumors by blocking a signal that tells cancer cells to grow. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
A bottle of Tagrisso on a table at a home in Deerfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

All of this means the company is gearing up for several launches and label expansions — and new revenue streams. AstraZeneca has set a target to become an $80 billion company, in sales, by 2030. In 2023, the company booked $45.8 billion in revenue.

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CFO Aradhana Sarin said she is now focused on the execution of launching the products after the data reveal.

"We've come a long way in our oncology portfolio, but we've also come a long way when you see the depth of the portfolio," Sarin told Yahoo Finance at the Goldman Sachs annual healthcare conference in Miami Beach. Sarin added that the company isn't done yet, with more data due in the next 18 months.

In the past six months, the company's stock has surged nearly 20%, trading at $79 per share Thursday.

Sarin said the company is going to achieve its revenue goal, and not by relying on one or two blockbusters. It is the story the company told at its May investor day, where stakeholders initially felt confused about the wide variety of products the company was highlighting.

"For us, when it comes to communication, it's a balancing act between making it simple enough so people can digest it, but also highlighting that it's not one or two products that make or break this company. It's a huge breadth and depth of product," Sarin said.

She added, "My role is to make sure that we have good data and good analysis to support decisions that we discuss and debate" in order to make the right choices.

Anjalee Khemlani is the senior health reporter at Yahoo Finance, covering all things pharma, insurance, care services, digital health, PBMs, and health policy and politics. Follow Anjalee on all social media platforms @AnjKhem.

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