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AstraZeneca Group plc (AZN)

  • Feb. 6, 2014, 2:49 AM
    • AstraZeneca (AZN) Q4 core EPS dropped 28% to $1.23 and beat consensus of $1.18.
    • Revenue -4% in constant exchange rates to $6.84B, just above forecasts of $6.82B.
    • Adjusted profit fell 26% to $1.98B, dragged down by patent expirations on key drugs.
    • The loss of IP protection will continue to hurt the company, and it forecasts that 2014 revenue will drop by a low-to-mid single digit percentage and that EPS will decline "in the teens."
    • AstraZeneca declared a second interim dividend of $1.90 a share. (PR)
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  • Feb. 6, 2014, 12:05 AM
  • Feb. 5, 2014, 5:30 PM
  • Feb. 4, 2014, 8:28 AM
    • Ten major pharmaceuticals companies are getting together with the National Institutes of Health and other organizations in a five-year partnership that will look to understand the science behind Alzheimer's, Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
    • In an unusual move, the normally secretive participants will share scientists, tissue, blood samples and data, with the aim being to identify targets for new drugs.
    • The firms involved include Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Takeda (TKPHF) and Sanofi (SNY).
    • Those that haven't joined include Amgen (AMGN), Roche (RHHBY) and AstraZeneca (AZN).
  • Feb. 3, 2014, 9:29 AM
    • An adjunct medical professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital has challenged the FDA's 2011 approval of AstraZeneca's anticlotting drug Brilinta, the WSJ reports.
    • Using the federal False Claims Act, Victor Serebruany has filed a complaint arguing that data was manipulated in a trial which showed that the medicine saved lives and cut heart attacks. The U.S. attorney's office in Washington DC is investigating the conduct of the trial.
    • Separately, AstraZeneca (AZN) has completed the acquisition of Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMY) holding in the companies' diabetes joint venture for an initial $2.7B and as much as $1.65B in additional payments, as well as royalties on sales. (PR)
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  • Jan. 24, 2014, 7:20 AM
    • A European Medicines Agency committee has recommended that the EU approve GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) once-weekly Albiglutide drug for Type 2 diabetes.
    • The treatment belongs to the same class of GLP-1 therapies as Novo Nordisk's (NVO) Victoza, and Byetta and Bydureon from Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca (AZN).
    • The European Commission usually follows the recommendations of the EMA. GSK expects a decision in Q1. (PR)
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  • Jan. 22, 2014, 6:57 AM
    • European regulators have approved AstraZeneca's (AZN) Xigduo treatment for Type 2 diabetes.
    • The authorization is the first for a drug that combines an SGLT2 inhibitor, which cuts the reabsorption of excess glucose, and metformin, a standard therapy. (PR)
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  • Jan. 15, 2014, 9:45 AM
    • Shares of AstraZeneca (AZN +0.6%) are higher in morning trading.
    • Danske has upgraded the stock to Buy from Sell.
    • The move comes after the company provided a more optimistic forecast than many were expecting.
    • For more, see here and here.
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  • Jan. 14, 2014, 4:52 AM
    • Don't overreact to AstraZeneca's (AZN) rosy outlook, Deutsche Bank says. Among its reasons:
    • i) AZN has a history of missed long-term forecasts.
    • ii) What does "broadly in line" with 2013 revenue even mean? "We forecast $24.3B of revenues in 2017, vs. $25.7B in 2013. Is that broadly in line"?
    • iii) We do not know how much AstraZeneca includes in its internal revenue forecasts for late-stage pipeline drugs, on which we and consensus are relatively cautious.
    • iv) Revenues are one thing, profitability is another, and there is no reference to Core EPS in its revised guidance.
    • Firm reiterates Hold rating with price-target just below yesterday's London close.
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  • Jan. 14, 2014, 3:12 AM
    • AstraZeneca (AZN) believes it will return to growth "earlier than analyst consensus," and it expects 2017 revenues to be "broadly in line" with those of 2013. The company's earnings are being hit by patent expirations such as for cholesterol treatment Crestor.
    • AstraZeneca appears to base its forecast on its decision to buy Bristol-Myers Squibb's interests in their diabetes venture and on future drug launches.
    • AstraZeneca has treatments in 11 Phase III programs, almost double the number a year ago, and in 27 Phase II studies.
    • The company's comments come ahead of a presentation that CEO Pascal Soriot will give at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco at 7.30 pm ET.
    • Shares +2% in London. (PR)
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  • Jan. 9, 2014, 12:06 PM
    • "The impact of tapering by the Fed on income fund investments in pharmaceuticals looks to be less than we had feared," says Jefferies' Jeffrey Holford, upping AstraZeneca (AZN +1%) to a Hold. He notes management recently took steps to boost near-term core EPS and reduce pressure on payout ratios - investors should be reassured of a steady dividend being maintained.
    • UBS also gives a boost, initiating the stock with a Buy rating.
    • Earlier: Holford upgrades JNJ to a Buy.
    • See also: UBS launches coverage on a number of other big pharma names.
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  • Jan. 8, 2014, 11:58 AM
    • The FDA approves AstraZeneca (AZN +0.3%) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMY +1.2%) Farxiga (dapaglifozin).
    • The drug is intended to improve glycemic control in adults with Type 2 diabetes.
    • Farxiga isn't recommended for patients with active bladder cancer and the regulator is "requiring six post-marketing studies," including a CVOT.
    • FDA PR
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  • Jan. 8, 2014, 11:02 AM
    • Aegis figures now is a good time to hike the price target on Oramed Pharmaceuticals (ORMP +20.1%) to $30 from $25 as "positive proof-of-concept data has been generated in animals for both ORMD-0801 [and] ORMD-0901."
    • Here's analyst Ram Selvaraju, commenting: "Positive Phase 2b data [in ORMD-0801] could set the scene for a transformative licensing transaction or an acquisition by an established diabetes focused firm like AstraZeneca (AZN), Novartis (NVS), Novo Nordisk (NVO), or Sanofi (SNY)."
    • The shares are up 222% since the company reported successful results with its oral insulin capsule last month.
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  • Jan. 8, 2014, 7:55 AM
    • AstraZeneca (AZN) is looking to challenge Merck (MRK) and Bristol-Myers (BMY) in the cancer immunotherapy race, as MedImmune strikes a deal with privately-held Immunocore for the development of the latter's Immune Mobilizing Monoclonal T-Cell Receptor Against Cancer technology.
    • "ImmTACs," as the therapies are called, harness the body's own T cells to fight cancer.
    • MedImmune is paying $20M upfront per program, with Immunocore eligible to receive up to $300M in milestones plus royalties on successful programs.
    • As Reuters notes, AZN is entrenched in the cancer drug market and the company likely "believes its broad portfolio of experimental drugs, ranging from traditional pills to injectable biotech products, puts it in a strong position to develop combination therapies." (PR)
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  • Dec. 19, 2013, 4:15 PM
    • A U.S. court of appeals has affirmed a district court's ruling that Hanmi has not infringed AstraZeneca's (AZN) '504 patent.
    • The court determined that "the written description limits 'alkaline salt' in the '504 patent to certain specifically named salts."
    • Ultimately, this means the district court's ruling of noninfringement is upheld.
    • AZN "respectfully disagrees" and will consider a "further appeal," Reuters notes.
    • Full decision
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  • Dec. 19, 2013, 3:25 AM
    • As flagged, AstraZeneca (AZN) has agreed to acquire Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMY) holding in the companies' diabetes joint venture for an initial $2.7B and as much as $1.4B in additional payments.
    • The transaction will strengthen AstraZeneca's earnings potential at a time that it's being hit by patent expirations.
    • Bristol will receive funds that it can use to develop treatments in other fields, including cancer.
    • The JV's drugs include the oral therapies Onglyza, Kombiglyze and Forxiga, and the injectable medicines Bydureon and Byetta. (PR)
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Company Description
AstraZeneca PLC is a biopharmaceutical company. It is engaged in the discovery and development of new products, which are then manufactured, marketed and sold.