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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  AstraZeneca    AZN   GB0009895292

ASTRAZENECA (AZN)
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GSK, other drugmakers bet on post-Brexit UK science

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12/06/2017 | 01:21pm CEST
FILE PHOTO: The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on medication packages in a pharmacy in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain won a vote of confidence from its economically important life sciences sector on Wednesday as several major drug companies committed to invest in the country under the government's industrial strategy plans after Brexit.

The move is welcome news for Prime Minister Theresa May, who has struggled to win over large sections of industry as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

Thanks to the strength of UK universities and the presence of two major pharmaceuticals companies in GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, the drugs industry has been a bright spot in the British economy for many years.

But the highly regulated sector faces potential obstacles to trade as a result of Brexit unless London and Brussels manage to align regulatory regimes for medicines.

In a bid to soften the blow, the government has backed a report by immunologist and geneticist John Bell designed to boost the pharmaceutical sector via fresh public-private collaborations.

That has paved the way for the Life Sciences Sector Deal, which will see GSK invest 40 million pounds of new money in genomic research, including a plan to sequence DNA from all 500,000 volunteer participants enrolled in UK Biobank, the world's most detailed biomedical database.

GSK's head of research Patrick Vallance said the deal showed Britain remained an attractive place for drug discovery, but he cautioned: "The UK needs to recognise going forward that science is an international endeavour, not a parochial endeavour."

Other investments by pharma companies include plans by Johnson & Johnson and the Medicines Co to work on new clinical trials and genetic research by AstraZeneca.

U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co had already announced plans to expand UK research operations under the deal last week.

In all, the government said the deal brought together existing and future commitments by 25 global organisations.

Other companies in discussions with the government about investments include Philips, Roche Diagnostics, Siemens, GE Healthcare and Toshiba Medical Systems.

As a key part of the deal, the government said it was committed to increasing investment in R&D to 2.4 percent of GDP by 2027 and 3 percent over the longer term.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Gareth Jones and Louise Heavens)

By Ben Hirschler

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ASTRAZENECA 1.76% 5670 Delayed Quote.10.72%
GLAXOSMITHKLINE 3.07% 1531.4 Delayed Quote.15.80%
JOHNSON & JOHNSON 0.63% 142.88 Delayed Quote.1.62%
MERCK AND COMPANY 0.45% 71.1 Delayed Quote.25.79%
THE MEDICINES COMPANY -2.15% 33.75 Delayed Quote.23.45%
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Financials ($)
Sales 2018 22 396 M
EBIT 2018 5 404 M
Net income 2018 2 284 M
Debt 2018 14 738 M
Yield 2018 3,70%
P/E ratio 2018 40,24
P/E ratio 2019 33,86
EV / Sales 2018 4,80x
EV / Sales 2019 4,53x
Capitalization 92 763 M
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Number of Analysts 27
Average target price 77,4 $
Spread / Average Target 4,7%
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Managers
NameTitle
Pascal Soriot Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Leif Valdemar Johansson Non-Executive Chairman
Pam P. Cheng Executive VP-Operations & Information Technology
Marc Pierre Jean Dunoyer Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
Sean Bohen Chief Medical Officer & Executive Vice President
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1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
ASTRAZENECA10.72%92 763
JOHNSON & JOHNSON1.62%383 312
PFIZER21.65%258 285
NOVARTIS-0.63%216 108
ROCHE HOLDING LTD.-4.60%211 501
MERCK AND COMPANY25.79%189 092