AstraZeneca's new boss axes research and commercial heads
's new boss has moved to shake up its research operations as it struggles to replace key drugs which will soon lose patent protection.
The pharmaceutical group's drug pipeline has suffered a number of setbacks, ahead of its two key drugs Nexium and Crestor losing patent protection in the US in the next two to three years.
Pascal Soriot, who joined as chief executive in October, has axed the roles of head of research and commercial director, with current occupants Martin Mackay and Tony Zook leaving the company at the end of the month. Instead Astra will split each role into three specialist positions, with a new global strategy position to bridge the gap between research and sales.
Soriot said the changes would "bring an even sharper management focus to key pipeline assets, key brands and key markets."
One of Soriot's first acts was to suspend share buybacks, prompting suggestions he was on the hunt for acquisitions to bolster Astra's flagging business.
Astra shares have added 10p to £30.40.