AstraZeneca Flips Moderna Profits to Expand into Line of Rare-Disease Drugs

While AstraZeneca’s (AZN) COVID-19 vaccine still awaits approval for use in the U.S., the drugmaker is still cashing in on the progress of vaccines here in the states.

Nicknamed the Oxford-vaccine, AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which has only gained approval in Europe, trails drugmakers Pfizer (PFE), BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna (MRNA) in the U.S., yet still managed to make a cool $1 billion off the success of the vaccines in the U.S.

This week, the drug company sold its entire 7.7% stake in Moderna, which itself has surged well over 800% since February 2020.

And with the $1 billion cash, it just made from the sale, AstraZeneca says it plans to help shore up its finances as it prepares to develop its own pipeline of drugs and complete its $39 billion takeovers of Boston-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN). A deal that will expand i=AstraZeneca’s foothold in the lucrative field of rare-diseases drugs and boost sales of drugs in new markets.

The company still fully intends to supply 180 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the EU in the second quarter of the year, and the U.S. once it’s granted approval. But in a banner year for drugmakers that saw an unprecedented influx of resources dedicated to helping create the coronavirus vaccine, perhaps we’ll come out of the other side of this pandemic with more drugmakers financially armed to combat many other serious diseases.

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