Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca Plc has reported a rise in fourth quarter sales of 10 per cent to $7,677 million. The company's pre-tax profit however was down 5.0 per cent to $2,143 million.

AstraZeneca also said that its earnings per share increased by 1.0 per cent to $1.03 per share.

David Brennan, chief executive officer, said, The first quarter performance puts us on track to achieve our full year financial targets. We have also announced the motavizumab BLA submission in January - the first of three regulatory filings planned for 2008 - and the agreement to settle the Nexium(TM) patent infringement litigation against Ranbaxy, which has provided increased clarity and stability to allow us to continue the substantial investment in our growing pipeline of new medicines.