AstraZeneca pluck chief exec from rival Roche

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The Independent Online

AstraZeneca yesterday poached its new chief executive from Swiss rival Roche in a bid to kick-start the UK drugs giant, which will see many of its top-selling drugs come off patent in the next two years.

The company has also suffered a series of multi-million pound clinical trial failures.

Pascal Soriot, 53, who practised as a vet before moving into the pharmaceutical industry, will join AstraZeneca at the start of October.

He headed the cancer drug group Genentech before its $100m (£63m) takeover by Roche in 2009, where he became head of pharmaceuticals.

Frenchman Mr Soriot replaces David Brennan, who became one of the most high-profile casualties of the shareholder spring. Mr Brennan resigned in April, hours before the firm's annual meeting.