Will AstraZeneca get out the checkbook in search of new programs?

Within 24 hours of the news that AstraZeneca ($AZN) had experienced back-to-back pipeline setbacks, the pharma giant had countered the news with new deals aimed at adding early- and mid-stage therapies to its roster of R&D programs. But it's going to take more than that to satisfy the analysts who follow AstraZeneca and who clearly don't like the pattern of failures that has long plagued the company's development efforts.

"AstraZeneca seems to have had more than its fair share of misfortune when it comes to the development pipeline," noted analysts at Barclays Capital following the news. "Additional development failures increase the probability that management will reassess the likely return on investment from additional R&D investment and cut costs further." For now, says Barclay, fostamatinib--slated for a potential 2013 approval in the U.S. and Europe--looks like the only big commercial contender, Barclays' analysts said.  

Another analyst says that AstraZeneca's dealmakers are going to need to get busy finding promising experimental drugs to partner on.

"It's a setback in a pipeline that's already relatively thin, at a company that does need pipeline products because of the patent expiries on the horizon," Berenberg Bank's Alistair Campbell told Bloomberg. "There are still some pipeline options, though I have to say my hopes aren't high for many of those."

- here's the article from Bloomberg

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