The $7bn planned acquisition of Amylin announced this weekend is an indicator of interest in the fast-growing diabetes market, a symbol of the need for big pharma companies to find new products and a sign of a senior executive’s eagerness to seal a deal to cap his career.
By overseeing a pioneering joint takeover in which he let his US partner Bristol-Myers Squibb, also a big pharma company take the lead, Simon Lowth, the interim chief executive of AstraZeneca, has pushed ahead with a transaction that shares risk, keeps costs low and helps compensate for the dearth of marketed and late-stage experimental drugs in the Anglo-Swedish group’s pipeline.
“This is very exciting news and further expands our ambitions to become global leaders,” he told an analysts’ call. “Diabetes is an important strategy focus for AstraZeneca, a disease of epidemic global scale.”
It also helps boost Mr Lowth’s standing in the race to replace David Brennan as head of big pharma AstraZeneca, showing a desire for controlling costs, maintaining dividends and identifying new deals. It follows a recent partnership he helped broker with Amgen, and the purchase of Ardea, in efforts to compensate for falling sales on a series of blockbuster drugs losing their exclusive patent rights.
“In our opinion, the Amylin transaction is a step in the right direction on a long road and an important first step for Simon Lowth’s candidacy as AstraZeneca’s permanent CEO,” noted analysts at Leerink Swann on Monday.
Read the full article at Financial Times
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