AstraZeneca may not stay in the vaccines business long-term and is looking to buy small and medium-sized companies specializing in oncology and cardiovascular treatments, CEO Pascal Soriot said.
Production delays, investigations by regulators after rare cases of serious side effects, and concerns about its relatively short shelf life compared to other vaccines have hampered the launch of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.
Now in its third year of the pandemic amid a global vaccine glut, its use has declined across much of the developed world as countries have vaccinated much of their population and prefer Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines as a booster shot.
AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine has yet to receive US approval.
“I cannot be certain that the company will remain in the Covid vaccines business,” Mr Soriot said in the interview, adding that it may also be shelving plans to build a broader vaccine portfolio.
AstraZeneca is looking for bolt-on acquisitions, Mr. Soriot added. The CEO has quadrupled AstraZeneca’s share price in his decade at the helm.
“I can do this job for many more years,” he said.
The 63-year-old was once seen as the natural successor to outgoing chairman Leif Johansson.
But in July, Mr Soriot quashed speculation that he was planning to retire soon and said he expected to work with the company’s newly announced chairman-elect Michel Demare for many years to come.
Mr Soriot was hired in October 2012 to get a troubled AstraZeneca back on track, which had been plagued by a series of major patent losses and a string of failed clinical trials, after working at pharmaceutical group Roche.
With the Frenchman at the helm, the company’s fortunes changed after he sharpened its focus on specialty drugs and the lucrative field of oncology.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/astrazeneca-eyes-oncology-and-cardio-deals-but-may-exit-vaccines-41932773.html AstraZeneca is focused on oncology and cardio offerings but may end vaccines