AstraZeneca to continue seeking pipeline acquisitions, Brennan tells Reuters

AstraZeneca is still on the lookout for products to boost its pipeline even after paying $15.6 billion for MedImmune, CEO David Brennan told Reuters news service. Brennan said he recognized that AstraZeneca would not “discover its way out” of its problems and therefore needed to bring in products from third parties. “We feel like we have the potential to keep our credit rating in the ‘A’ category and still have in the billions of dollars to spend if we choose to spend it,” he said. The MedImmune deal is considered a long-term bet by AstraZeneca, taking it deeper into biologics and vaccines. The deal is designed to put the company in a strong position in 2010-2015, when blockbusters like Seroquel for schizophrenia, Nexium for GERD and Arimidex for breast cancer face patent expiry. Brennan said the MedImmune deal also offers a shorter term upside. He plans to boost MedImmune’s $1.3 billion in revenues by beefing up its sales force. He also told Reuters he plans to examine MedImmune’s marketing relationship with Abbott Laboratories to see if there is any scope for renegotiation. “We would look to see if there are any opportunities,” Brennan said, adding: “We have a good relationship with Abbott.” MedImmune is best known as the maker of the nasal spray flu vaccine FluMist but its biggest seller is Synagis, an antibody to prevent respiratory infection in infants. AstraZeneca expects the MedImmune deal to close in June 2007.