Pfizer’s move on Astra fuels fears for British science
Pfizer’s want to take up its smaller rival AstraZeneca has stoked worries about Britain’s capability to remain a frontrunner in life sciences, even while the U.S. drugmaker demands that UK study is very valued by it.
The pharmaceutical industry presents a rare production success story for Britain and its two flagship drugmakers – GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca – supply a large number of highly-skilled, well-paid jobs.
AstraZeneca alone employs some 7,000 employees in Britain, despite new significant job cuts, plus it exports nearly 7 billion pounds ($11.8 billion) of drugs every year, representing around 2.3 percent of British exports of products.
“GSK and AstraZeneca will be the two pillars of the UK’s successful and economically significant life sciences field, helping academia and biotech over the technology base,” said Sarah Principal, director of the Strategy for Engineering & Science.
“To lose one of these to foreign ownership will be a hit.”
Pfizer Leader Ian Read, who studied science in London in early 1970s, knows he’s moving into questionable territory together with his try to obtain AstraZeneca in a package that will provide new medicines for cancer and realize significant cost and tax savings.
“today We reached out towards the UK government. We’ve involve some preliminary initial conversations,” Read told journalists in a conference call on Monday.
“you want to have a discussion with the federal government concerning the pleasure we’ve about mixing these portfolios, the pleasure we’ve concerning the power of UK research.
“This combination, if it happens, might provide an injection around $100 billion in to the UK economy and could produce domiciled in britain the biggest pharmaceutical company on the planet,” Read said.
Read said he saw Britain as an attractive place for both pharmaceutical research and production – served by current government tax credits – but added he couldn’t make any firm commitments on future investment or jobs.
In a previous controversial British business takeover this year, U.S.-based ingredients party Kraft offered to preserve open among its goal Cadbury’s producers, simply to return about the promise right after the offer was finished – drawing criticism for acting irresponsibly in one band of legislators.
Pfizer currently has a damaged reputation within the eyes of some British researchers after it announced plans in 2011 to shutter a sizable drug study site in Sandwich, southern England, using the lack of around 2,000 jobs.
AstraZeneca has also laid off a large number of other staff as well as researchers because it reduces its cost base to handle a drop in revenue because of patent losses on blockbuster drugs.
In an effort to improve the organization, AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot has put down plans to go company headquarters and its research to Cambridge, England, by 2016 – improving among the nation’s most significant technology facilities but creating job losses further north.
The British government, while supportive of the drugs market, has suggested it’d have a hand’s off method of any Pfizer-AstraZeneca package, which finance minister George Osborne explained on Friday as “a commercial issue between your organizations”.
That position is as opposed to the perspective of the nearby French government, that has claimed it’d block any deal involving engineering group Alstom it considers unhealthy.
For Britain’s opposition Labour party, company spokesman Chuka Umunna said any possible takeover of AstraZeneca by Pfizer ought to be evaluated on whether it endorsed growth and jobs, Britain’s research foundation, and certain long-term investment in Britain.
Combine, Britain’s largest labour union, required guarantees of no job losses and for that safety of the UK’s research and
Starting in case that Pfizer works.
“We expect the UK government do everything possible also to help the UK’s knowledge-base and to safeguard jobs and to pay particular attention for this quote,” said Combine National Officer Linda McCulloch.
($1 = 0.5948 British Pounds)