AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, and the second-largest British company in that sector after GlaxoSmithKline. It has no exposure to over-the-counter healthcare, but manages a sizeable portfolio of prescription products, including several $1bn-plus blockbusters currently led by cholesterol reducer Crestor. In 2007, the group agreed to acquire US biotechnology developer MedImmune. However AstraZeneca's drugs pipeline has been weakened considerably since the early 2000s by a series of patent expiries and the failure of several planned products. It also came under intense scrutiny from US regulators over unauthorised marketing of key drug Seroquel, and suffered the expiry of patents on several more of its top-selling drugs between 2014 and 2016. In 2014, AstraZeneca successfully fought off a takeover proposal from rival Pfizer but it remains potential target, though for the time being it is pressing ahead with a series of acquisitions of its own.
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Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Sep 2016: Pfizer is still shopping. A few days after agreeing to acquire US oncology drugmaker Medivation, it snapped up AstraZeneca's international antibiotics portfolio for up to $1.6bn, to be paid over several years depending on performance. Drugs include Zinforo, Zavicefta and Merrem. Allergan markets the most important of these drugs in the US under the names Teflaro and Avycaz.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Dec 2015: AstraZeneca continued with its shopping spree to plug holes in its ageing drug portfolio. It agreed to acquire the respiratory portfolio of rival Takeda for $575m, including international rights to Daxas, a treatment for chronic pulmonary disease. It acquired rights in the US, where it is known as Daliresp, earlier this year. AstraZeneca also recently agreed to pay $2.7bn for US company ZS Pharma, which is developing a treatment for blood disorders.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Jun 2015: DigitasLBi kicked off the awards at this year's Cannes Lions festival, with the first Grand Prix in the Lions Health event, now in its second year. The big winner was a generic campaign for AstraZeneca promoting the health benefits of triglycerides from fish oil, also the main ingredient in that pharma company's Epanova drug. It took top prize in the Pharma category as well as several metal awards.
Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Feb 2015: In another add-on to its portfolio, AstraZeneca bulked up with a deal to acquire a collection of respiratory medicines from smaller rival Actavis for $600m. Actavis brands Tudorza and Daliresp will be used to boost AstraZeneca's existing collection of lung drugs led by blockbuster Symbicort.
Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Jul 2014: AstraZeneca agreed to pay up to $2.1bn for a collection of actual and in-development respiratory drugs from Spanish manufacturer Almirall.
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