Covid-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca swings to loss for 2021 despite making £3bn in sales from its coronavirus jab

Covid-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca has swung to a loss for 2021 despite making 4 billion dollars (£3 billion) in sales from its coronavirus jab.

The drugs giant, which is not making a profit from the vaccine, posted a pre-tax loss of 265 million dollars (£196 million) for last year, against profits of 3.92 billion dollars (£2.9 billion) in 2020.

This came in spite of revenues jumping by 38% at constant exchange rates to 37.4 billion dollars (£27.6 billion) as it was hit by costs of its 39 billion dollar (£28.8 billion) mega deal to buy US drug company Alexion Pharmaceuticals, as well as new drug research.

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File photo of a vial of Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: PA

Astra said it made 1.76 billion dollars (£1.3 billion) in sales from the Covid jab in the final three months of last year alone, with 2.5 billion doses released for supply around the world over the year as a whole.

Over half of sales of the Covid-19 vaccine – which was developed with Oxford University – came from emerging markets excluding China.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, said: “AstraZeneca continued on its strong growth trajectory in 2021, with industry-leading R&D (research and development) productivity, five of our medicines crossing new blockbuster thresholds, and the acquisition and integration of Alexion.

“We also delivered on our promise of broad and equitable access to our Covid-19 vaccine with 2.5 billion doses released for supply around the world, and we made good progress on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.”

He added: “After a landmark year in 2021, we are increasing the dividend for our shareholders.”