Which drugmakers are likely to be the biggest dealmakers of 2014? The direct evidence is trickling in. Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher, for instance, says he's looking to spend up to €2 billion on deals next year, or about $2.7 billion.
The promising early results on AstraZeneca's lung cancer drug AZD9291 won't convince anyone that the troubled company is on the turnaround trail, but it's a step in the right direction in what CEO Pascal Soriot promises will be a slow but steady reversal of its misfortunes.
Back in 2012, olaparib was just another train wreck for AstraZeneca; a Phase II failure in ovarian cancer that was wrapped up and put on the shelf, forcing the pharma giant to write off $285 million.
While explaining some fresh dents in earnings and revenue for the second quarter, AstraZeneca officials made it clear that they would continue to invest in new products--hitting the accelerator on more dealmaking in an effort to break out of a painful slump brought on by years of star-crossed R&D work and a dwindling pipeline.
A few high notes in its second-quarter report--notably growth in China and an increase in Brilinta sales--give some support to CEO Pascal Soriot's attempts to strike a positive tone.
Celltrion confirmed Wednesday that its largest shareholder is in discussions with financial adviser JPMorgan but stressed in a statement that "no definite structure, decision or buyer regarding the stake sale has been determined."
The executive suite at AstraZeneca is churning again. CFO Simon Lowth is jumping ship for BG Group, a natural gas company. He'll be around till the end of October, however, giving CEO Pascal Soriot time to bring in a successor.
AstraZeneca watchers gleaned a few new nuggets of information on the company's turnaround plans as CEO Pascal Soriot revealed to the Financial Times that he's exploring another big drug R&D tie-up along the lines of two collaborations struck with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Amgen.
Over the next three years the pharma company plans to build a $500 million complex on its new campus that will house its U.K. operations for biologics and small molecule research as well as the corporate staff now operating in London.
AstraZeneca's first-quarter earnings report was a stark indication of why its new CEO Pascal Soriot is scrambling to buy some new drugs the company can lean on.