AstraZeneca seeking innovation from the outside: WSJ

AstraZeneca’s CEO David Brennan says he is looking beyond his company’s own labs for promising new drugs and urging his scientists to do the same, The Wall Street Journal reported today. Brennan told the newspaper that AstraZeneca has looked at Swiss biotech company Serono, which put itself up for sale for $15 billion last year. Brennan declined to comment on whether AstraZeneca was pursuing a deal. Brennan said he hopes outside alliances will help the company overcome a research slump that began in 2004 when two of AstraZeneca’s highest profile drugs failed to make it to market. Poor perceptions of AstraZeneca’s productivity have weighed on the company’s stock price and stirred talk that it could become a takeover candidate for GlaxoSmithKline and other big rivals, the report said. Brennan said the company intends to expand sales in part by winning regulatory approval to sell existing drugs for new uses. In January, the FDA approved AstraZeneca’s application to market the schizophrenia drug Seroquel to treat bipolar mania. AstraZeneca is studying Seroquel's use in other types of depression and anxiety.