AstraZeneca Annual Report and Form 20-F Information 2011

Operational highlights

  • -2%

    Revenue in the US was down 2%

  • +10%

    Emerging Markets revenue increased by 10%

  • 79

    79 projects in clinical development, including 9 in Phase III or under regulatory review; 21 withdrawn during the year

  • 7%

    Ranked in the top 7% in the sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World and European Indexes, with our highest assessment score to date of 85%


AstraZeneca has a proud tradition of developing great medicines that make a meaningful difference to patient health. Looking ahead, we remain committed to developing innovative and valued medicines that improve the health of people around the world, benefit society and provide an acceptable return for our shareholders.

In my review I want to outline some of the steps we took and decisions we made in 2011 to secure our future business success.

A trusted partner

We cannot secure our success if we do not have good relationships with those with whom we do business. Trust is critical to achieving this: we need to connect with our stakeholders, including patients, physicians, regulators, governments and payers, if we are to understand their needs and challenges. We also need to earn and maintain the trust of our customers, partners and other stakeholders. This requires us to do things in the right way and to behave in accordance with our core values.

That is why I set such store by our Global External Interactions Policy, launched in April 2011, which provides a single, common, principle-based approach to all our interactions worldwide with public officials, healthcare professionals and community organisations. The introduction of the policy drove changes in the way we market and sell our products and I believe we now lead the industry in this area of business.

Our commitment to acting responsibly and the sustainable development of our Group was further reinforced in 2011 by the publication of our new Responsible Business Plan, which is closely aligned to our business strategy and its priorities.

The growing importance of compliance and ethics to our reputation and business operations was demonstrated during the year by the appointment of Katarina Ageborg, our new Chief Compliance Officer, to the SET.

World class Research and Development

At the core of our strategy to be a focused, integrated, innovation-driven, global, prescription-based biopharmaceutical business is the need to have an R&D function with world class productivity. In his Chairman’s Statement, Louis Schweitzer outlined how we are redoubling our efforts to deliver this through the use of innovative and collaborative ways of working. Our focus is on ensuring more effective and efficient delivery of our research objectives across our therapeutic portfolio.

Our results in 2011 were mixed. We were pleased by the FDA’s approval in July of Brilinta, our treatment for acute coronary syndromes. Brilinta, or Brilique, its trade name in Europe, is now approved in 64 countries, launched in 37 and under review in a further 39. Also on a positive note, Caprelsa (vandetanib), for the treatment of thyroid cancer, has been launched in the US and received a positive CHMP opinion in the EU. Axanum, for the prevention of cardiovascular events, KomboglyzeTM, for diabetes, and Fluenz, our influenza vaccine, were also approved in the EU. In Japan, both Nexium and Faslodex were launched following approvals earlier in the year.

During 2011, two of the Phase III trials for TC-5214, our neuroscience collaboration with Targacept, did not meet their primary endpoint. In December, we also announced that our investigational compound olaparib (AZD2281) for the treatment of ovarian cancer will not progress into Phase III. As a result of these two events we recorded an impairment charge of $435 million.

We were also disappointed during the year by the withdrawal of zibotentan (for prostate cancer). Axanum was also withdrawn in the US. In January 2012, we received a Complete Response Letter from the FDA for our submission for dapagliflozin. We, together with BMS, remain committed to this treatment for diabetes and will work closely with the FDA to provide additional clinical data.

Increased collaboration

Our focus on developing in-house capabilities is matched by our desire to develop a more outward-looking organisation committed to accessing the best science, regardless of its origin. Indeed, six of our nine projects in Phase III/Registration and 12 out of 24 in Phase II were sourced externally.

During 2011, we completed a number of transactions to strengthen our long-term development. These included the in-licensing of tremelimumab from Pfizer, and our groundbreaking collaboration with the UK Medical Research Council providing academic researchers with access to over 20 AstraZeneca compounds. Our plans for R&D will see us build further on this collaborative way of working.

Global orientation

Our future success requires us to develop global strategies to commercialise our products effectively. These need to be tailored to local needs in both mature and emerging markets.

As part of that drive, we announced our decision to invest $200 million in a manufacturing facility in China and our agreement to acquire a Chinese company that will give us access to a portfolio of medicines used to treat infections. In Russia, we invested $150 million in a manufacturing plant and announced plans to establish a new predictive science centre.

We are also committed to playing our part in the global challenge of providing sustainable access to healthcare for all those who need it. Our strategy recognises the complexities surrounding the issue which range from the affordability of medicines to the availability of healthcare systems and the resources to make them effective.

Stronger customer orientation

As the Chairman noted, there is no let up in sight on the downward pressure we face on the price of medicines. More than ever, we need to demonstrate their value to those who buy them. Our collaborations with HealthCore and IMS will help us undertake ‘real world’ studies to understand how to treat disease most effectively and economically. We also need to undertake more studies such as the Brilinta PLATO study demonstrating that, even at a higher price, it is a more cost effective treatment than the generic alternative.

Equally, we need to recognise the changing shape of healthcare systems. Those who work in them are working more intensively and with less time to research medicines. We are therefore piloting new ways of working to meet their needs. These include the use of digital channels which offer information that is available when it is needed, and without having to leave the office.

Operational efficiency

Our continued drive for operational efficiency is typified by the design and construction of our new plant in China, which is using ‘Lean’ production principles from the outset. We are also streamlining processes and moving to a more flexible cost base in order to remain competitive.

As we reshape our business to meet the needs of our customers efficiently, we are seeing reductions in the workforce across much of our organisation, particularly in our mature Established Markets and in our R&D organisation. This reshaping includes plans for further R&D site consolidation. These are difficult decisions as they go to the heart of AstraZeneca, our people. Where possible, we seek to redeploy staff or assist with outplacement and, together with my colleagues, I remain committed to managing these changes in the right way, in accordance with local employment laws, our standards and core values.

A confident future

Our industry is undergoing a period of fundamental change. If we are to be one of the winners in the sector we need to make the necessary changes both to what we do and how we do it. I am confident that within AstraZeneca we have people with the skills to do that and pay tribute to their continued efforts in 2011 to ensure we deliver on our commitments to patients, society and our shareholders. I look forward to working with them to build on those efforts in 2012.



Delivering our Strategy


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