COMPANY DESCRIPTION

AstraZeneca (or 'the company') is a UK-based global biopharmaceutical company.The company isengaged in the development manufacture, and marketing of prescription biopharmaceuticals inprimarily in the therapeutic areas of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neuroscience, oncology,respiratory, inflammation, and infection.The company’s biologics pipeline has some promisingproducts that are expected to help the company offset generic erosion in its small molecule productsales growth. However, pricing and healthcare cost containment measures are likely to affectAstraZeneca's sales growth and operating profit margin. 

 

ECONOMIC MOAT

In our opinion, AstraZeneca's  moat will face challenges in th next few years.  AZN’s moat comes from patent protection, an entrenched salesforce, and economies of scale.  AZN holds a relatively high exposure to generic competition over the next several years as the face the massive patent losses on gastrointestinal drug Nexium and cholesterol reducer Crestor in 2015 and 2016.  The company’s pipeline has promise as Astra's PD-L1 drug for lung cancer will be a major blockbuster.  AZN is cutting costs.

 

OUTLOOK

Revenue generation is likely to prove challenging for AstraZeneca this year. Nexium sales have been in decline over the past several years, generic erosion is now expected to take a more sizable chunk out of sales in 2015 (our current model reflects a 50% decline versus 2014). Nexium accounted for about 14% of Astra's total revenue last year. The patent expiration of Crestor looms large. Despite a 2% dip in sales last year, Crestor remains AstraZeneca's top-grossing product ($5.5 billion in 2014 annual sales), and accounts for more than 20% of the total revenue base. Management remains confident that recent launches and its exciting lineup of drugs in development will be sufficient in restoring stability.

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STRENGTHS

  • Diversification into biologics and vaccines via MedImmune and CAT

  • Increasing market acceptance of recently launched products

  • Cost controlling measures enabling AstraZeneca to improve operational efficiency

WEAKNESSES

  • Heavy dependence on small moleculesexposing AstraZeneca’s sales growth togeneric competition

THREATS

  • Healthcare cost containment measures kely to affect AstraZeneca's sales growth and operating profit margin

  • Abbreviated approval processes for biosimilars may affect commercial prospects of AstraZeneca’s future biologics

  • Volatile foreign exchange rates likely toaffect the company’s operating results

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Gaining full ownership of the global diabete salliance with Bristol-Myers Squibb

  • Successful development and launch of lesinurad could drive top-line growth

  • Collaborations with Amgen and Ironwood to develop biopharma products

  • Aging global population and increasing unmet medical needs

The above report is for information purposes only, and is not a solicitation or offer to buy or sell any securities. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Neither diversification nor asset allocation ensures a profit or guarantees against loss. Before investing, investors should consider their risk tolerance, investment objectives, time horizon, available capital, and charges and expenses.  

 

The information presented in this report has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guranteed. All material is subject to change without notice. The views and opinions expressed are those of Focused Stock Research and/or WALT ST Investment Management, Ltd. and in no way reflect the views and opinions of Investment Consultants nor their Broker Dealers.

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