AstraZeneca shifts focus back to drugs pipeline - (Financial Times via NewsPoints Desk)

  • This week AstraZeneca will try to show investors why it rejected Pfizer's takeover offer of nearly 70 billion pounds as its CEO Pascal Soriot prepares to showcase the UK company's cancer drug candidates at this year's ASCO meeting, reported the Financial Times.
  • Pfizer is expected to issue a statement confirming its failed attempt to merge with AstraZeneca on May 25 ahead of a deadline for a deal to be struck under UK takeover rules.
  • According to the news source, Pfizer's withdrawal will put pressure on Soriot, who had warned during the takeover battle that the proposed acquisition would delay new cancer drugs, to deliver his promised growth. "[Soriot] now has a monkey on his back to meet those targets," one person close to AstraZeneca said.
  • Soriot will be accompanied by AstraZeneca's top scientists at ASCO to present data on the EGFR inhibitor AZD9291 and the PD-L1 inhibitor MEDI4736. Briggs Morrison, AstraZeneca's chief medical officer, said the drugs have "the potential to redefine the way that cancer patients are treated."
  • Citigroup analyst Andrew Baum believes MEDI4736 could become a "best in class" product. However, success is far from guaranteed, with more clinical trials to come and competition from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, Novartis and Merck & Co., according to the news source.
  • Meanwhile, several analysts have said AstraZeneca's revenue forecasts maybe unrealistic, pointing out that its target for peak annual sales of up to 6.5 billion pounds from MEDI4736 are higher than even the most optimistic analysts expect.

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