AstraZeneca will focus its R&D efforts into two units: biopharmaceuticals, focusing on cardiovascular, renal & metabolism, and respiratory, alongside a separate oncology unit. The change sees MedImmune’s position within the company brought into the overall company’s functions, which means that the subsidiary’s name and logo will no longer be used.
AZ acquired MedImmune in 2007 for $15.2bn (€13.42bn), boosting the company’s pipeline of biologic medicine candidates. In announcing the retirement of the MedImmune brand, the subsidiary stated that nearly half of AZ’s current pipeline is made of biologics.
MedImmune was founded in 1988 and began its operations in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Susan Galbraith, head of oncology at AZ, clarified the decision in an investor call: “We've got a very rich pipeline across both the biologics and the small molecule part of the pipeline. There is some parts of this reorganization that will give us the opportunity to be much more effective.”
In practical terms, she cited the example of the company’s CD73 antibody and adenosine 2a receptor inhibitor in the pipeline both addressing the adenosine pathway, which had been developed in separate R&D functions but will now be developed under the same unit.
“It makes complete sense for [these candidates] to be very closely integrated,” she concluded.
In terms of the results posted by AZ, the company was able to reveal a 4% growth of product sales and an 8% growth in reported operating profit, year-on-year.
The boost to its product sales was driven by its oncology unit, which experienced sales growth of 50%, primarily driven by full year sales of Tagrisso (osimertinib) rising by 93% to $1.8bn, sales of Imfinzi (durvalumab) reaching $633m from previous year’s sales of $19m, and Lynparza (olaparib) achieving sales of $647m for a growth of 116%.
In addition, the company also achieved increased sales in China, where sales increased by 25% to $3.79bn. This was also driven by the commercial performance of its oncology unit, where sales grew by 41%.