Drugmaker AstraZeneca, helped by currency effects and cost savings, raised its full-year earnings forecasts on Thursday as third-quarter forecasts beat expectations.
Shares in the company were 5.2 percent higher at 25.50 pounds.
The results follow solid figures earlier this month from European rivals GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Roche as sales of medicines hold up relatively well in a worsening economic environment.
In a move similar to Glaxo, AstraZeneca said it was suspending share repurchases for the rest of 2008 to take advantage of investment opportunities.
Many cash-rich drug firms see the credit crisis as a chance to buy up assets cheaply.
Chief Financial Officer Simon Lowth told reporters the Anglo-Swedish group would actively pursue opportunities to buy promising compounds to bulk up its new drug pipeline via product licensing deals and acquisitions.
Cholesterol fighter Crestor and asthma drug Symbicort showed strong growth in the quarter, offsetting a fall in sales of ulcer and heartburn treatment Nexium, which faces fierce competition from cheaper rivals.
The fall in Nexium sales, however, was slightly less than some analysts had feared.
Sales of schizophrenia drug Seroquel showed only modest growth, as expected, reflecting a tough year-ago comparison.
For the full year, AstraZeneca now expects core earnings per share of between $4.90 and $5.05, against $4.60-4.90 anticipated previously, helped by dollar and sterling weakness in the third quarter, as well as operational improvements.
Some of those currency advantages may start to unravel in future quarters, following more recent currency swings, but most analyst numbers were already above the previous guidance.
"The fourth quarter is not going to be as strong; they're not going to get as much currency benefits," said WestLB analyst Simon Mather. "So I think this guidance is what they will achieve."