'We'll create a scientific powerhouse': Pfizer defends AstraZeneca takeover bid
Monday 12 May 2014
Pfizer has defended its campaign to snap up AstraZeneca in Britain’s biggest foreign takeover claiming the £63 billion deal would create a “scientific powerhouse”.
The US drugmaker also hit back at politicians’ claims that its statement on UK jobs was not "watertight" as bosses from the two companies prepare to be grilled in Parliament tomorrow and on Wednesday.
In its select committee submissions, Pfizer said of its pledge to keep a fifth of the combined company’s research and development workforce in the UK for five years that although "we had no obligation to make these [jobs] commitments we were willing to do so because we support the opportunity to strengthen the UK life sciences industry.
"We understand fully that they would be binding as a matter of English law."
There are fears that a takeover could see Pfizer axe thousands of jobs, and top scientists — including the provost of University College, London — have warned that medical research in the UK could be “nullified” by the deal.
But Pfizer’s president of research, Mikael Dolsten, who will be giving evidence before the science and Technology select committee on Wednesday, made the unusual move of writing a newspaper column on why the potential takeover “would benefit patients around the world and strengthen the UK’s life sciences industry”.
Writing in the Evening Standard, Dolsten, who joined Pfizer as part of its $68 billion (£40 billion) acquisition of Wyeth in 2009, wrote that as a result he can "speak from personal experience on this subject".
"[The Wyeth deal] provoked similar concerns about the impact of a big merger on scientific progress."
Dolsten claimed the US Viagra-maker has “great respect” for AstraZeneca and its heritage but a merged business would be “better placed to meet society’s demand for the faster and more cost-effective delivery of medicines”.
His attempt to woo Astra’s investors, UK politicians and this country’s scientific community comes despite no firm offer being on the table from Pfizer. AstraZeneca rejected its most recent approach.
Pfizer points out: "AstraZeneca faces difficult challenges [such as] looming patent expiries," in its select committee submissions, but does not mention its own patent cliff, with Pfizer blockbusters including cholesterol treatment Lipitor facing generic competition.
Ian Read, Pfizer’s chief executive, has recorded four videos aiming at winning support for the deal, which he claimed would be a "win win" for investors and science.
AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot told The Independent that AstraZeneca was healthier as an independent medicine maker: "We are creating and investing in new drugs which we believe will transform how we tackle diseases and change patients’ lives."
- 1 Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 UK's biggest male rape charity Survivors UK has state funding slashed to zero despite 120% rise in men reporting sexual violence and seeking help
- 4 'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
UK's biggest male rape charity Survivors UK has state funding slashed to zero despite 120% rise in men reporting sexual violence and seeking help
Priest warns pupils the 'Charlie Charlie Challenge' is 'demonic activity'
'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
Iran launches anti-Isis cartoon competition 'to expose true nature of Islamic State'
Fifa corruption arrests: Sepp Blatter 'quite relaxed' and confident he is 'not involved'
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
iJobs Money & Business
£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...
£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...