AstraZeneca plc

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AstraZeneca is an Anglo–Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company. In 2013, it moved its headquarters to Cambridge, UK, and concentrated its research and development at 3 sites:

  • Cambridge;
  • Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA (location of MedImmune) for work on biopharmaceuticals;
  • and Mölndal (near Gothenburg) in Sweden, for research on traditional chemical drugs.

AstraZeneca has a portfolio of products for major disease areas including cancer, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, infection, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation.ref


Member of the European Round Table of Industrialists, which lobbies against climate change policies.



Total float: 95.9%
Source: MarketScreener.svg, Mar.2020


ToDo: Joint ventures + Subsidiaries, 2017 report, pp.157, 172, 190. The Guardian, Investors, Reports, CH

Courtaulds, Akzo Nobel, Aventis, Rhône-Poulenc/Rhodia, Sanofi, ENI, Ineos: link


AstraZeneca plc

  • Dec.2020:
    Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc, a dedicated rare disease business based in Boston, Massachusetts, was acquired through a cash-and-shares deal, structured such that Alexion shareholders ended up owning ~15% of the combined company.[1] The acquisition cemented AstraZeneca's position in immunology. Alexion’s top-selling drug is Soliris, a treatment for a rare, life-threatening disease that destroys red blood cells.[2]
  • ... ...
  • May.2003:
    Marlow Foods, including the Quorn Foods business and associated trademarks and patents, was sold to Montagu Private Equity LLP.ref,ref
  • Apr.1999:
    AstraZeneca plc: Zeneca Group plc and Sweden-based pharmaceutical company Astra AB merged.refref

Zeneca Group plc

  • Apr.1999: AstraZeneca: Zeneca Group merged with Swedish company Astra AB.ref,ref
  • Nov.1998: Zeneca announced that it was planning to sell its Zeneca Specialties division, including its biocides, industrial colours, life science molecules, performance and intermediate chemicals and resins activities.ref
  • Dec.1997: Zeneca acquired the USA fungicide operations of Japan's Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha, together with the international distribution rights to 4 recently developed fungicides, herbicides and pest control products.refref
  • Mar.1997: Salick Health Care: Zeneca exercised its right to acquire the 50% that it did not already own.ref
  • May.1996: Zeneca announced the sale of its textile colours business to the German group BASF.ref
  • Dec.1994: Salick Health Care: Zeneca acquired a 50% stake in the operator of cancer care centres in the USA.ref
  • Jun.1993:
    Zeneca Group plc was formed when ICI spun off its pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals businesses from its core chemical business, into a new, publicly-listed corporation.ref Marlow Foods, Quorn Foods's parent company, became a part of the newly-formed group.

AstraZeneca Pharma

ToDo: link

Astra Pharmaceuticals Ltd

Astra AB

  • Dec.1998: Merger: Responding to increasing development costs of new drugs and a perception that the pharmaceutical industry needed more international fusion, Astra started to look for partners. Plans for a merger with Zeneca were announced, which would create the world's 3rd largest pharmaceutical company. Despite some initial criticism, the merger was completed in 1999.
  • 1983: Zelmid was withdrawn due to concerns over side effects. Astra did not continue their SSRI drug development; it was USA pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company which later introduced the bestselling drug Prozac.
  • 1982: Zelmid, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, was introduced.
  • 1961: Thalidomide: Astra distributed the drug Neurosedyn in Sweden, which was a prescription-free sedative. It was developed in Germany by Grünenthal under the name Contergan and was also sold under the name Thalidomide in other countries. This drug was connected to a number of birth defects in Germany and was withdrawn from the German market. Three weeks later Astra's Neurosedyn was withdrawn in Sweden, after having been on the market slightly less than three years. It turned out that ~100 Swedish children had suffered deformation from their mothers having taking the supposedly safe drug during their pregnancies, as the Swedish part of the wider Thalidomide scandal affecting around 10,000 worldwide. A settlement was reached in 1969, whereby Astra set aside certain compensation funds to the victim. This turn of events led to a revision of safety thinking in drug development, and to date it is still considered as the worst tragedy and scandal in the history of the Swedish pharmaceutical industry.
  • 1960s: Many of the drugs which were introduced by Astra originated with its Hässle division. The research at Hässle led to a number of Astra drugs against cardiovascular conditions, including Aptin in 1967, and Seloken in 1975. Another highly successful and profitable Hässle product was Losec against gastroesophageal conditions, introduced in 1988.
  • 1954: The Hässle division was relocated from Hässleholm to Gothenburg in order to facilitate collaboration with Gothenburg University and its Faculty of Medicine. In the same vein, Astra Draco was founded in Lund, where Lund University was located.
  • 1940s: two product families were established which were to become important to Astra: penicillin and anaesthetics, initially in the form of Xylocain, which was introduced on the Swedish market in 1948.
  • 1942: The pharmaceutical factories of Paul G Nordström in Hässleholm (later renamed to Hässle, and operated as a division of Astra) were acquired. This established Astra as the leading Swedish pharmaceutical company.
  • 1939: Tika was acquired.
  • 1929: Astra showed profit and expanded.
  • 1930s: Astra started to conduct its own research, rather than just manufacturing existing pharmaceutical preparations. The sulfa drug Sulfathiazole was one of the results of these research activities.
  • 1924: Astra AB was acquired from the Swedish govt by a private consortium formed by Swedish merchant Erik Kistner.ref The consortium bought debt-ridden Astra back from the govt for the symbolic price of one krona. The consortium included banker Jacob Wallenberg, and the Wallenberg family have continued holding a stake in the company.
  • 1920: Astra AB was bailed out and acquired by the Swedish govt through its monopoly liquor-producing company Vinoch spritcentralen, with the intention of forming a national monopoly for pharmaceutical production. The plans met with resistance.
  • 1920: AB Svensk färgämnesindustri was spectacularly unsuccessful, and was liquidated.
  • 1918: AB Svensk färgämnesindustri a dye-producer, bought Astra with the intention of creating a large Swedish chemical group rivaling those in continental Europe.
  • 1913: Astra AB was founded in Södertälje, Sweden.ref

Nobel Industries



  • Nov.17.2018: Lung cancer drug failure hits Astrazeneca. A big lung cancer trial at Astrazeneca has failed, delivering a setback for its attempts to rebuild its drug pipeline. Latest results showed that the drug Imfinzi did not improve overall survival rates compared with chemotherapy in patients with the most advanced form of the disease. Alex Ralph, The Times.
  • May.18.2018: AstraZeneca rocked by shareholder revolt over executive pay. More than 37% of investors failed to back the remuneration report, either voting against or abstaining. This is the second rebuke by investors in as many years. The rebellion opposed a £9.4m pay package for ceo Pascal Soriot. Earlier this month, advisory group International Shareholder Services advised investors that a £1.9m bonus was “not suitably aligned with performance”, whilst PIRC advised them to vote against. Earlier this year, investors in turnaround specialist Melrose staged one of the largest revolts this year, triggered by disgruntlement over a decision to pay a £42m bonus to each of 4 directors. More than a third of Unilever investors registered opposition to its pay plans earlier this month, while Persimmon experienced a revolt against the “grossly excessive” £75m bonus handed to its chief executive. Richard Partington, The Guardian.
  • Apr.15.2018: AstraZeneca reassures investors: we’ve got blockbuster drugs. Astra Zeneca will seek to reassure investors that it has enough early-stage medicines in its pipeline to create the blockbuster drugs of the future. Pharmaceuticals companies worldwide are battling to replace lost revenues from drugs no longer protected by patents. AstraZeneca awaits a crucial decision by the USA's Food and Drug Administration on Tagrisso for first-line use against metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. Sabah Meddings, The Times.
  • 2014-2015: Going off-label. AstraZeneca were marketing a drug for a wide range of disorders, for which it was not licensed. It paid $half-a-billion to settle the lawsuit. It wasn't alone. See 7:54. John Oliver, Last Week Tonight.
  • ^ Astra Zeneca buys US rare diseases rival Alexion for $39bn. Drugs giant defies Brexit uncertainty with surprise strike Sabah Meddings, The Times, Dec.12.2020.
  • ^ lexion Submits Applications For Soliris(R) (Eculizumab) As A Treatment For Patients With Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS) In The US And EU. Medical News Today, Apr.08.2011. Original archived on Oct.11.2012.