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AstraZeneca says it will cut costs

LONDON – Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca says first-quarter earnings fell 12 per cent as it announced plans to cut costs so it can devote more resources to cancer drugs.

Core operating profit, which excludes one-time items such as restructuring costs and impairments, fell to $1.59 billion versus $1.81 billion in the first quarter of 2015.

AstraZeneca said Friday that income increased to $646 million from $550 million

AstraZeneca also says it plans to cuts costs by about $1.1 billion over the next two years as the company seeks to increase productivity.

Chief Executive Pascal Soriot says the company is “driving greater efficiency across the organization to support the advancement of our strategy.”

Like all big drugmakers, AstraZeneca is focusing on building a pipeline of new treatments as patents expire for blockbuster products.