Today´s results are shockingly bad, and hold no prospect of better days ahead. The risks that are now precipitating into profit declines and a destruction in shareholder value were fully visible ten or more years ago. A promising pipeline grossly mismanaged. Poor acquisition choices, that missed the point, when obviously better candidates were available. Missing the opportunity to resolve the issues with Merck (read the contingent liabilities note in the 20/F) when Vioxx left Merck vulnerable. #$%$ managers who talk incessantly about people, performance, motivation, process & technology, but whose actions verge on the psychopathic. Fast forward in finance? How apt to choose a slogan based on the cassette recorder when that technology was already obsolete! McKillop, Brennan and Symonds need to hang their heads in shame for the catastrophe that their hubris, incompetence and indecision is now visiting on a once great company. AstraZeneca needed a truly visionary leader, but instead appointed men with brains of mud and feet of clay. Two have already had the truth of their capability properly judged by the public. One to go, and his day of reckoning can´t be too far away - the Americans weren´t fooled, and the Swiss are not stupid.
Agree completely. The man, sorry mouse, is profoundly foolish. It is amazing that someone with such poor commercial or operational capability could be in that role for so long.
His own behaviour has poisoned the culture within Finance - it is no secret that to 'get on' at AZ, you either have to behave appallingly towards your colleagues, or if female, sleep around.
You're probably right. Roundup enterprise value is declining daily as it is consumed by generics, and by dreadful management (Argentina). Markets like Japan are being exited. Biotech business enterprise value increasingly uncertain (two billion write off - thanks, Boob!). Forget a float - look to a break up and trade sale of the two separate parts.
Often an unmet need coincides with a profit making opportunity - do you want research into pharmaceuticals and agricultural biotech to stop because many needs are not currently met? There is a myth that the food supply would be safer if we returned to the pastoral idyll prior to the industrial revolution - the cruel reality is that much of the world's population would starve to death if this happened, and the liberal elite would find it difficult to sustain their niche diet. In fact, food scares in Europe are likely to have the effect of making much of European agriculture less intensive, leaving an opportunity for Asian and African nations to be preferred suppliers. Biotech does offer these nations a way to manage the environmental impact of agriculture in a more sustainable way than was available 50 years ago after the end of WW2 - on balance, this has got to be a good thing, would you not agree?
Actually I was trying to be ironic re application of RU, but tempers seem to be so frayed on this board that it obviously doesn't work. But my own father is 79, and I'd hate to see him harried in court - public perception is important!
..........who thinks that McKillop is a fatuous, self-regarding, arrogant tosser who will probably be turfed out within two years when all the megabrand hype turns out to be empty talk? And when are they going to close those cost bases in Sweden burning a hole in the expenses (and get rid of most of the Swedish no-hopers)?
Losec and Zestril both come off patent in 2001 -
probably 40-50% of turnover. What if anything is going to
drive the share price during the period of uncertainty
before the patent expiries, and it becomes clear whether
it is manageable, or a disaster?
From yesterday's FT ;
Companies News /
Research may give Merck and
Monsanto a headache
By Victoria Griffith
research to be published on Tuesday may put two of this
year's fastest selling new drugs, Monsanto's Celebrex
and Merck's Vioxx, under a cloud.
so-called super aspirins may prevent the healing of
gastro-intestinal ulcers, according to a study to be published in
the December issue of the science journal Nature
The finding is important because the pain relievers
are marketed as being much less harmful to the human
digestive system than aspirin and
Researchers at the Veteran Affairs Medical Centre in
California said the Cox-2 inhibitors, as Celebrex and Vioxx
are known, prevented ulcers and wounds from healing
by discouraging the formation of blood vessels.
"This research is a word of caution that we need to
study these drugs more carefully," says Andrzej
Tarnawski, an author of the study.
Since its American
launch in January, Celebrex, made by Searle - Monsanto's
pharmaceutical arm - and co-promoted by Pfizer, has brought in
an estimated $1bn in revenues. Vioxx, the Merck
product that was launched in the US market in August, is
forecast to generate $400m in sales in its first five
Monsanto and Merck have both invested heavily in the
approval and marketing of super-aspirin products - and
both are currently working on successors to Vioxx and
Celebrex is Monsanto's most valuable drug by far. While
Merck has other best-sellers, the company is counting
on Vioxx to bridge a new product pipeline gap that
may emerge over the next few years as US patents
expire on some of its most important products, including
Vasotec and Mevacor.
Merck said yesterday that its
own large-scale clinical trial, which led to the
approval of the drug by the US Food & Drug Administration,
should take precedence over the Nature Medicine
research, which was a laboratory study.
of the people in our clinical trial had the
beginnings of ulcers and Vioxx did not worsen their
condition any more than the placebo," said Dr Thomas Simon,
head of gastro-intestinal research for
Scientists have theorised that the super-aspirins have fewer
gastro-intestinal side effects because they are more selective.
While both damp the creation of "Cox" enzymes, which
are associated with pain, super-aspirin affects only
"Cox-2". "Cox-1", targeted by traditional pain relievers,
is thought to be the cox enzyme associated with
stomach upset. According to Stanford University,
traditional pain relievers caused 16,500 deaths last year
because of gastro-intestinal complications.
Tarnawski and his colleagues argue that the inhibition of
blood vessel creation is the same mechanism that makes
the Cox-2 inhibitors effective against tumour
formation. Because tumours need oxygen and nutrients to
survive, a reduction in blood flow can be a potent anti-
Searle has filed with the FDA to
receive approval for Celebrex for the prevention of a
certain type of tumour associated with colon cancer.
Merck has conducted studies that show Vioxx may also be
useful for tumour inhibition.
DD - no way, on antitrust grounds
AHP - no way, they want to get out of ag - AmCy is on
RP/Agrevo - no way, they have 2-3 years
of FrancoGerman warfare ahead of them
Dow - no
way, too weak / pathetic
Novartis - maybe, but
would be the kiss of death
Bayer - maybe, but
similar to Novartis
AZN - maybe, if Ag/Ph
This stock won't move in the short term until
they do something with agrochemicals, and not until
2001 and the "sword of damocles" of the uncertainty
surrounding patent expiries of both Losec and Zestril is
That is - unless they do a really good deal for
agchem, and manage to commercialise their own pipeline
and / or flesh it out with acquisitions / licensing
What are the options for agchem? My view, in
descending order - 1. Dupont or Novartis, 2. Monsanto or 3.
What are the options for pharma - well, they should
definitely have gone for Sugen, and probably Centocor. Two
missed opportunities! Difficult to find more attractive
candidates in the current envvironment.
Any thoughts out there on the options for
Agrochemicals and likely timimg? Good article from Bloomberg
AstraZeneca, Novartis May Sell Agrochemical Units, People Say
London, May 28 (Bloomberg) -- AstraZeneca Plc and
AG, the world's biggest drug companies, are each
selling their agrochemicals divisions to focus on more
pharmaceuticals, people close to the discussions said. The people
said the talks between the companies and their
advisers are still at an early stage and that all options
are under consideration, including spinning off the
units to shareholders or selling them to competitors or
The talks come at a time when
European drug companies in
particular are under
pressure to expand earnings in their more
drug divisions. While AstraZeneca and Novartis
leading positions in crop-protection -- Novartis was No.
AstraZeneca No. 5 in 1998 sales -- the $28
billion industry is
suffering from sluggish growth,
and analysts see no compelling
reason for either
to hang on to agrochemicals.
is: Do they invest in agrochemicals when
returns are half that of pharmaceuticals or do they
use the proceeds in pharmaceuticals?,''
said Nigel Barnes, a
pharmaceuticals analyst with
Merrill Lynch & Co.
Both companies declined to
comment on any talks, although
spokesmen for both said
they are always reviewing options to
problems of splitting of such large divisions are
and would take months to address, the people close to
Attached is a synopsis of CNBC on MTC/DD. What
are people's thoughts on the other possible suitors -
Zeneca, Novartis, WLA?
Greg Miles MTC/DD
Price of both have fallen quite a bit from 52 week
Merger may not get the price up
MTC/AHP merger attempt fell victim to CEO Egos
Several mating dances, but other mergers (AHP/SBH,
GLX/SBH) have had similar problems
company would be a big force
30% of resources
would be in Life Sciences in Pharma and AgBio, which
would be big change for DD, who is mostly concentrated
in Chemicals and Plastics. DD would also get
The AgBio would be a powerhouse, but
pharmaceuticals still wouldn't have critical mass.
are problems however
MTC may want too much
control, and money is saved by consolidation
selling at a lower premium, so merger would be dilutive
for many years
Other MTC suitors include
Novartis, ZEN, WLA
As a long term biotech investor, I sincerely hope
that the shorts lost their pants on this one. It's
about time that the parasitic greed merchants with no
idea of real value took a hiding. Go and find another
sector to wreck.
Glaxo could only acquire Zeneca through a hostile
takeover, which would be messy and unpleasant, but which
would also, more importantly, entail a reasonable
premium to the current share price of Zeneca. They would
then have to write off goodwill on acquisition, which
would probably be a charge to P&L of over GBP1Bn over a
20 year period. Does anyone seriously think that
they would countenance this?