Senior Correspondent, London
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May 11, 2014
May 11, 2014

UK labs play shrinking role in AstraZeneca drug portfolio

LONDON (Reuters) – How British is AstraZeneca? With a French chief executive, Swedish chairman, 40 percent of its sales in the United States and 87 percent of its staff overseas, the answer is not simple.

Formed from an Anglo-Swedish merger 15 years ago, even its roots are only half British. Yet a $106 billion takeover bid from U.S. group Pfizer has forced politicians at Westminster to line up in defense of British jobs and science.

May 10, 2014
May 10, 2014
May 10, 2014

Under fire, Pfizer hits back as weighs next Astra move

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Pfizer
fought back on Saturday against criticism that its planned
takeover of rival AstraZeneca would damage Britain’s
science base by saying strong UK research was a key reason for
the deal.

Given its record of big job cuts after past acquisitions,
the U.S. group has come under fire in Britain, the United States
and Sweden as it weighs its next move to buy AstraZeneca, which
could be a sweetened offer next week.

May 10, 2014

UK finance minister ready for ‘hard negotiation’ with Pfizer

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is ready for “hard negotiation” to ensure Pfizer sticks to specific promises on jobs and science under the U.S. drugmaker’s proposed takeover of AstraZeneca, its finance minister said.

“I think it would be extraordinary not to engage with AstraZeneca or Pfizer,” George Osborne told BBC radio on Saturday.

May 9, 2014

Pfizer under fire in Europe, U.S. as it weighs next Astra move

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Pfizer (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is under fire on both sides of the Atlantic as it weighs its next move to buy British rival AstraZeneca (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which could be a sweetened offer next week.

A strategic question for Pfizer and its advisers is whether to come back with a new bid before bosses from both companies are grilled by UK lawmakers on May 13-14, or wait until the end of the week.

May 8, 2014

AstraZeneca shares gain on talk of sweetened Pfizer bid

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) – AstraZeneca shares gained
2 percent on Thursday on speculation that U.S. drugmaker Pfizer
was about to return with a higher bid worth more than 53
pounds ($89.9) a share, traders said.

A bid at that level would value Britain’s second-biggest
pharmaceuticals group at around $113 billion.

May 7, 2014

AstraZeneca in partnering talks for Alzheimer’s drug

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) – AstraZeneca, fighting a
$106 billion bid approach from Pfizer, is talking to
other companies as it seeks a partnering deal for its
experimental Alzheimer’s drug.

Briggs Morrison, global head of medicines development, said
AstraZeneca was is talks with firms with more experience of
Alzheimer’s about a deal to share development of its so-called
BACE inhibitor drug, which is set to enter late-stage Phase III
development.

May 7, 2014

In AstraZeneca fight, valuing drugs as much art as science

LONDON (Reuters) – Ten-year sales forecasts from AstraZeneca (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) – a central plank of its defense against a $106 billion bid approach from Pfizer (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) – underscore how valuing drugs is an art as well as a science.

While imponderables exist in any corporate valuation, pharmaceuticals are especially tricky, given the hazards of drug development and the long timelines of an industry where it typically takes 10 to 15 years to bring a new product to market.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Hirschler is European pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare correspondent, based in London. Previously, he was in charge of British company news and before that was posted to Johannesburg, covering the economic challenges facing post-apartheid South Africa."
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