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Depending on the therapeutic area, a fall in pharmaceutical sales was an obvious effect of the pandemic, although lower selling and marketing expenses and fewer non-COVID-19 infections were minor positives.
Roche’s full-year 2020 results suggested that it had seen better days. By contrast, the turnaround narrative at AstraZeneca suggested that its worst days were behind it.
Lilly’s fourth-quarter results included windfalls, not just from the pandemic but from seasonal wholesaler buying patterns that were intensified by the pandemic and raise a high bar for subsequent quarters.
J&J’s bullish outlook for 2021, robust fourth quarter and frequent guidance revisions in uncertain times contrasted with Novartis’s reticence.
The path of spin-offs from loss-making biotech companies with weak investment propositions seems clouded with examples that often resulted in an appointment with the liquidator.
Deals announced by Sanofi and Novartis at this year’s virtual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference and a smattering of full-year revenue preannouncements did not mark a bumper start to the year.
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