AstraZeneca's first quarter profits jump 74%

LONDON — Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca says first quarter earnings jumped 74%, buoyed by emerging markets and the success of new cancer treatments.

AstraZeneca said Friday that net income rose to $593 million from $340 million in the same period last year. Product sales increased 5.5% to $16.39 billion, driven by new drugs such as the bladder cancer treatment Imfinzi and lung cancer therapy Tagrisso.

Emerging market sales increased 14%, boosted by strong growth in China.

Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown in London, says the results vindicate CEO Pascal Soriot's strategy and show that "revenue growth is no longer a matter of faith" for investors.

Soriot promised investors that AstraZeneca's pipeline of new drugs would pay off when he fended off a takeover bid from Pfizer in 2014.

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