AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine delivered $275m in first quarter sales while shaving three cents per share from earnings, the drugmaker said toda.

This comes as the company posted better than expected results and forecast second half growth.

This is the first time the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has given financial details of the distribution and sales of the vaccine, which it developed with Oxford University.

It has said it will not make a profit from the shot during the pandemic.

The vaccine revenue included delivery of about 68 million doses, AstraZeneca said, adding that sales in Europe, where it faces a legal case, were $224m, in emerging markets $43m and $8m in the rest of the world.

Sales of $275m for 68 million doses equates to a price tag of around $4 per shot.

The results come after a bruising start to the year as the drugmaker struggles with production of its vaccine and faces a legal battle after cutting deliveries to Europe, while regulators probe rare blood clots in people who got the shot.

Shares in AstraZeneca rose 3% to 7,621 pence at 0744 GMT. The stock, which hit record highs in July 2020 due to optimism around the vaccine, ended last year 4% lower.

AstraZeneca was one of the leaders in the global race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. Its cheap and easily transportable shot was hailed as a milestone in the fight against the crisis, but has since faced a series of setbacks.

In presentation slides, AstraZeneca said it was ramping up vaccine supplies and production yields were improving, without giving any details.

Pfizer, whose Covid-19 vaccine is several times more costly per dose than AstraZeneca's, in February forecast $15 billion for its share of sales from the vaccine, co-developed with partner BioNTech, with analysts expecting as much as $18 billion on average.

BioNTech expects close to €10 billion in revenues from committed vaccine deliveries this year but raised the prospect of more supply deals.

Moderna in February said it was expecting sales of $18.4 billion from its own vaccine this year.

AstraZeneca said it would submit an application for US emergency use in the coming weeks, adding global data from late-stage trials and emerging real-world data after a roll-out.

While the coronavirus continues to have a mixed impact on drugmakers, AstraZeneca's core business has proved resilient.

The drugmaker stuck to its forecast for 2021 today and predicted better times ahead.

Its guidance does not include any impact from sales of the vaccine and its $39 billion purchase of Alexion, which is expected to close in the third quarter.

"We expect the impact of Covid to reduce and anticipate a performance acceleration in the second half of 2021," AstraZeneca's chief executive Pascal Soriot said today.

Total revenue of $7.32 billion for the three months to March exceeded analysts' expectations of $6.94 billion, while core earnings of $1.63 cents per share beat a consensus of $1.48.

Quarterly sales growth was driven by best-selling lung cancer drug Tagrisso, up 17% to $1.15 billion.

Revenues from its heart and diabetes drug Farxiga jumped to a better-than-expected $625m, on the back of new prescriptions for heart failure.