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Woodford to meet Pfizer chief about AstraZeneca deal

by James Phillipps on May 13, 2014 at 08:50

Woodford to meet Pfizer chief about AstraZeneca deal

Neil Woodford is to meet the chief executive of Pfizer to discuss its bid for AstraZeneca.

According to Sky News, the star fund manager will sit down with Ian Read, the US giant’s boss, to talk through his concerns about the deal.

Woodford (pictured) has been a long-term backer of AstraZeneca and earlier this month said that he believes the company ‘has an exciting future as an independent entity’.

AstraZeneca rejected an improved offer of £63 billion, saying the amount ‘significantly undervalued AstraZeneca and its prospects’.

The stock is expected to be a key component of the newly launched Woodford Investment Management’s Income fund, which comes to market next month.

It is set to be another busy week for Read who today goes before MPs on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee to discuss his plans for the combined business, should a deal go through. A number of politicians have raised concerns about the potential loss of jobs following a merger.

Yesterday Axa Framlington's AA-rated Nigel Thomas said that he been buying AstraZeneca shares ahead of the bid aproach, feeling its advances in cancer treatments was undervalued by the market.

He said: 'While approaching the subject as a layman, the basic tenet of the research is that cancer can be transformed from a terminal illness to a chronic disease through immunotherapy.

‘We have purchased shares in AstraZeneca in the last six months; their predicament of significant revenue-earning patent expiries over the next few years has been heavily discounted by the stock market.

‘However, behind the other three companies, Astra’s portfolio of compounds is notable due to their expertise, with existing drugs across a wide spread of clinical outcomes. Given that many immunotherapies will incorporate other drugs in "combination therapies", AstraZeneca will have the option to commercialise a great deal of in-house compounds to late stage trials.'

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