A sign is seen at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England May 19, 2014.Credit: Reuters/Phil Noble
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LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca raised its sales and earnings forecasts for the year on Thursday, showing resilience after seeing off a $118 billion takeover approach from rival Pfizer two months ago.
Second-quarter sales and earnings both beat expectations, helped by several one-off factors, including a product-related payment from Pfizer worth $200 million.
Chief Executive Pascal Soriot has fought hard to demonstrate that AstraZeneca has a strong independent future and does not need the kind of mega-merger offered by its bigger U.S. rival.
He has gained credit for his firm's pipeline of promising new cancer drugs, while the respiratory business has been boosted by strong demand for Symbicort, which has taken business from GlaxoSmithKline's rival drug Advair.
AstraZeneca moved to boost its lung drug franchise further on Wednesday by acquiring rights to Spanish group Almirall's lung treatments in a deal worth up to $2.1 billion.
Sales in the quarter rose 4 percent to $6.45 billion, despite generic competition to some drugs, generating core earnings - which exclude certain items - up 8 percent at $1.30 a share.
Industry analysts, on average, had forecast sales in the quarter of $6.29 billion and earnings of $1.10 a share, according to Thomson Reuters.
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