) recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with
UK-based company, Oxford Cancer Biomarkers Ltd. As per the terms
of the agreement, Oxford Cancer Biomarkers Ltd. will work on an
AstraZeneca oncology candidate to find biomarkers with potential
to identify responders and non-responders to the candidate.
However, the companies did not disclose the name of the
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AstraZeneca has an option to license any biomarkers discovered
under the program.
We note that AstraZeneca is looking to combat the generic erosion
faced by many of its key drugs by signing deals, making
acquisitions and developing new products. The recent
acquisition of biotech company AlphaCore Pharma is a move by
AstraZeneca in that direction.
Generic competition has adversely impacted AstraZeneca's revenues
over the past few quarters. This has put significant pressure on
the company. AstraZeneca is looking towards cost-cutting
initiatives to drive the bottom line in the face of
Last month AstraZeneca initiated a major overhaul of its R&D
and selling, general and administrative (SG&A) segments. As
per the proposed plans, the company's R&D activities will be
primarily centered in three facilities including UK (Cambridge),
US (Gaithersburg) and Sweden (Mölndal).
The proposed initiative will result in relocation and termination
of approximately 2,500 and 1,600 roles, respectively, in the
2013-2016 timeframe and cost approximately $1.4 billion. The
SG&A segment will also be optimized with the help of
restructuring activities, which will result in the termination of
approximately 2,300 employees.
AstraZeneca, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #3
(Hold). Biopharma stocks like
) appear to be more attractive. All three stocks carry a Zacks
Rank #1 (Strong Buy).