Pumping up product pipeline is AstraZeneca CEO’s “No. 1 priority”

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AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan has made strengthening the UK drug firm’s pipeline his top goal, despite strong growth of key products during 2005. “The output from our discovery organization has grown and new medicines from both our own and external research have entered late-stage development, including those from recent transactions,” Brennan told investors yesterday, according to a report on WSJ.com. “However, we will do more to further strengthen our product pipeline, and this is my number one priority.” Earlier this month, AstraZeneca lost a court case over two Toprol-XL patents in generic challenges from KV Pharmaceutical, Andrx Corp. and Eon Labs, a unit of Novartis. AstraZeneca said it would appeal the decisions. Sales for Toprol-XL in the US in 2005 were approximately $1.3 billion. AstraZeneca reported a 32% rise in fourth-quarter net profit, with full-year net profit rising 25%.
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