AstraZeneca has tried adding smaller companies that have potentially profitable drugs in the late stages of development. The latest was this week’s $1.26 billion purchase of San Diego-based Ardea Biosciences Inc., which has a promising, but not-yet-ready medicine for gout.
Still, the company has had several rounds of layoffs, including among staff in Delaware.
In the first quarter, total revenue fell 11 percent in the first quarter and the operating profit dropped 37 percent. Shares on the New York Stock Exchange were down 5.7 percent, to $43.29 in late morning trading.
“The pharmaceutical sector is experiencing pressures none of which I’ve witnessed in my 36 years in the industry,” Brennan said during a Thursday conference call. “I remain very confident that AstraZeneca has the capabilities, courage and determination to be successful into the future. If we maintain our focus on meeting the needs of patients and trying to solve unmet patient needs, we can continue to deliver attractive and sustained returns for our shareholders.”
Board member Leif Johansson will guide the selection for Brennan’s successor. Chief financial officer Simon Lowth will act as interim CEO after Brennan departs and until his replacement is named.
Bernstein Research analyst Tim Anderson said the company has been shareholder friendly with stock buybacks and dividends, but the five-year financial outlook was “uninspiring.”
Anderson wrote to clients, “Coupled with what appears to be a thinner late-stage pipeline and a mixed longer-term R&D track record, the multiyear view of AZN is challenging in our view.”
Contact David Sell at 215-854-4506 or email@example.com or Twitter @PhillyPharma. Read his PhillyPharma blog on philly.com.