U.S. Markets close in 5 hrs 58 mins

AstraZeneca in partnering talks for Alzheimer drug

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca, fighting a $106 billion bid approach from Pfizer, is talking to other companies as it seeks a partnering deal for its experimental Alzheimer's drug.

Briggs Morrison, global head of medicines development, said AstraZeneca was talking to companies with more experience of Alzheimer's about a deal to share development of its so-called BACE inhibitor drug, which is set to enter late-stage Phase III development.

A deal to share Phase III costs and share eventual profits was probably the easiest approach, he told reporters on Wednesday, but AstraZeneca could also out-license the product and take a royalty on any eventual sales.

AstraZeneca believes its BACE inhibitor could potentially sell as much as $5 billion a year, but it gives it only a 9 percent chance of success on a risk adjusted basis given the high failure rate in the disease sector.

The British company on Tuesday set out its defence against the Pfizer takeover, touting its strong long-term growth potential as an independent company.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Kate Holton)