Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Astra Boss Tight-Lipped on Pfizer Bid

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Astra Boss Tight-Lipped on Pfizer Bid

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin and Jamie Dunkley

THE boss of AstraZeneca today refused to be drawn on whether the pharmaceuticals giant will be the target of a renewed takeover bid from US rival Pfizer.

The maker of Viagra recently approached Britain's No. 2 drug maker with a bid worth around PS60 billion and there have been widespread hopes it could return with a higher offer.

But Astra's chief executive, Pascal Soriot, remained tight-lipped on the speculation, which has seen his firm's stock-market valuation shoot up by more than PS4 billion.

"We have a firm policy on not commenting on things like this and that has not changed," he said. "We prefer to talk about things we are doing to grow the business."

But Soriot did highlight success in new cancer drugs, taken to late-stage clinical trials, including treatments for lung cancer and ovarian cancer, which are seen as a major attraction for Pfizer.

The US giant is struggling with a declining pipeline as blockbuster medicines, including cholesterolbuster Lipitor, once the world's topselling drug, face patent expiries. …

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