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AstraZeneca Q1 upbeat on cancer drugs despite Q1 sales drop

LONDON (AP) — Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca says first-quarter revenue fell amid declining sales of cholesterol treatment Crestor, which lost patent protection last year.

Total revenue declined 12 percent to $5.4 billion as Crestor sales dropped 45 percent. Net income fell to $537 million, from $646 million.

CEO Pascal Soriot said Thursday that the impact of recent patent expirations should ease this year as he highlighted optimism about new cancer treatments in “what we expect to be a pivotal year for AstraZeneca.”

Sales of cancer drugs rose 20 percent to $885 million, driven by the introduction of the lung cancer treatment Tagrisso. Sales of Tagrisso were $171 million. Soriot also highlighted “positive data” for Lynparza, a treatment for ovarian and breast cancer that is now available in 31 countries.

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