AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot urges staff to remain focused following rumours of move to Teva

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot urged staff to remain focused on the company's goals in the wake of reports linking him to the vacant chief executive position at Teva. "Together, we are poised to achieve something remarkable and that few thought possible," Soriot said in an internal memo sent to employees on July 16, adding "nothing can break the momentum you have established, and certainly not rumours."

The financial news website Calcalist reported earlier this month that Teva was planning to select Soriot as its next CEO, with the executive said to have agreed to take the position. However, shortly afterwards, sources suggested that Soriot will remain as head of AstraZeneca for the foreseeable future, with the drugmaker confirming that the executive would be hosting the company's second-quarter results presentation on July 27.

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At the time of the rumours, an AstraZeneca spokesperson declined to comment on the speculation. Although Soriot did not comment on whether he had received an offer from Teva in the memo, the executive noted that rumours were "part of everyday business." Soriot added "given the volume of coverage, I want to take a moment to explain why we did not issue internal or external communications in this matter," explaining that the company has a policy of not addressing speculation unless required to do so by regulators.

A company spokeswoman also said Friday that Soriot was planning to attend the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) annual meeting in September, assuming that AstraZeneca had data on Imfinzi (durvalumab) to present at the conference. The drugmaker is awaiting results from the Phase III MYSTIC study, which is evaluating the PD-L1 inhibitor Imfinzi (durvalumab), both as monotherapy and in combination with the CTLA-4 inhibitor tremelimumab, as a first-line therapy for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.

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