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AstraZeneca Adds 1% on New Brilinta Hopes, As FTSE 100 Rebounds

From Guardian Web (January 21, 2011)

Leading shares are edging higher after two days of falls, with AstraZeneca lifted by renewed hopes for its blood thinning drug Brilinta.

The company has suffered a number of blows to its drug pipeline recently, not least a decision by US regulators not to approve Brilinta without further analysis of clinical trials. Astra had been hoping the drug would be a new blockbuster, rivalling Plavix from Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Today Astra said it had written to the US Food and Drug Administration answering queries about Brilinta, and remained confident about the submission. Astra's shares have added 40.5p to £29.63, ahead of its full year figures due next Thursday. Savvas Neophytou at Panmure Gordon said:

The process of gaining registration for drug candidate Brilinta in the US has moved up a gear, with news this morning that the company has fulfilled its obligation by replying to the agency faster than expected. This may result in registration by the end of March 2011, which would trigger consensus upgrades. This news confirms our positive stance on the drug, and coming shortly after the troubles that competitor product candidate vorapaxar ran into last week [development of the Merck product was halted], enables us to reiterate our buy recommendation and £36.00 price target.

Overall the FTSE 100 has added 25.57 points to 5893.48, following a near 200 point drop over the last two days. Ilya Spivak, currency strategist at Daily FX, said:

European markets are in a chipper mood in the final session of the trading week ahead of a report that is expected to show German business confidence held at a record high in January. UK retail sales are set to decline for the first in three months in December, but the outcome is likely to be overlooked having been telegraphed in a survey from the British Retail Consortium last week. US index futures are in the red however, hinting sentiment may stumble in the second half of the session as Wall Street comes online, with five of the eight S&P 500 companies set to report earnings expected to show results deteriorated from in the reporting quarter from the previous one.


Posted: January 2011