AstraZeneca ( AZN) delivered a third-quarter financial report Thursday that beat Wall Street's estimates and prompted the drugmaker to raise its earnings per share estimate. The Anglo-British company lifted its full-year earnings target to a range of $2.85 to $2.90 a share from $2.75, marking the second upward revision in 2005. The average estimate among analysts polled by Thomson First Call was $2.79 for the year. AstraZeneca produced an operating profit of $1.7 billion, or 76 cents a share, on sales of $5.79 billion. The third-quarter consensus was for EPS of 67 cents with sales of $5.75 billion. For the same period last year, AstraZeneca recorded an operating profit of about $1.2 billion, or 68 cents a share, on revenue of $5.27 billion. The quarter was aided by two one-time gains worth 17 cents a share. However, the latest results weren't greeted warmly by investors, as shares dropped $1.11, or 2.4%, to $44.92, by late morning in heavy trading. The third quarter was marked by strong performance from several of AstraZeneca's biggest drugs, mixed results among experimental compounds and a flurry of patent challenges against major products. In September, generic drugmakers filed applications with the Food and Drug Administration to break AstraZeneca's patents on Diprivan, an injectable anesthetic; the schizophrenia drug Seroquel; a version of the asthma drug Pulmicort; and the blood pressure drug Toprol XL. In October, a generic company asked the FDA for permission to make a copycat version of Nexium for severe heartburn. AstraZeneca says it is evaluating these challenges, adding that it has "full confidence in its intellectual property" supporting these products. The company has filed patent infringement suits relating to Pulmicort and Toprol XL. An earlier patent dispute involving Toprol XL is scheduled for trial in February. AstraZeneca is the fifth-biggest seller of pharmaceuticals in the U.S.