* Mixed results in late-stage Zactima trial
* Announces deal with Par over Pulmicort generic
* Says deal follows launch by rival Teva of generic
* Predicts full-year EPS at low end of range after deal
* Shares off 11 percent with FTSE 100 down 1.7 pct
(Adds FY EPS predictions, Par deal)
By Ben Deighton
LONDON, Nov 19 Anglo-Swedish drugmaker
AstraZeneca (AZN.L) saw shares plummet 11 percent on Wednesday
after it said its full-year earnings per share (EPS) would be at
the lower end of its previously stated range.
Earnings would be hit by about $0.16 per share after it
signed a distribution and supply deal with Par Pharmaceutical
PRX.N for an authorised generic of its asthma drug Pulmicort.
It said the deal is in response to the launch of a generic
by rival Teva TEVA.O, even though the drug is still covered by
an AstraZeneca patent. AstraZeneca has filed a temporary
restraining order against the company.
As a result it predicted EPS will be near the bottom of the
$4.90 to $5.05 range communicated with its third-quarter
The news coincided with the announcement of mixed results
from AstraZeneca's late-stage trial for its lung cancer
treatment Zactima on Wednesday, after which its stock fell on
worries about the firm's relatively thin pipeline of new drugs
to replace blockbusters facing generic competition.
AstraZeneca said its trial for Zactima, one of a new class
of drugs called TK inhibitors, met its key goal in combination
with Sanofi-Aventis's (SASY.PA) chemotherapy treatment Taxotere,
but not with Eli-Lilly's (LLY.N) Alimta.
The results also showed the drug did not perform better than
Roche Holding ROG.VX Genentech Inc's DNA.N and OSI
Pharmaceuticals' OSIP.O Tarceva, the first of the TK
Analyst Simon Mather said that the results meant the drug
would be useful in about 40 percent of second line patients
suffering from non small cell lung cancer, the most common form
of lung cancer.
"Initial headlines indicate that the product may be useful
in approximately 40 percent of the estimated 50,000 second line
NSCLC patients, i.e those who currently receive Taxotere or
pemetrexed (Alimta) as a monotherapy," he said, adding that the
results were broadly in line with his expectations.
However, Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note that "with
Alimta and Tarceva moving into a 1st-line maintenance setting
and other new agents on the way, we view Zactima as having
largely missed its commercial opportunity in lung."
Overall, the tests, whose primary goal was prolonged
progression free survival in non small cell lung cancer, showed
that there were advantages to combining the drug with
chemotherapy treatments, the company said.
AstraZeneca suffered a disappointment in February this year
when its lung cancer drug Recentin failed to meet goals in
At 1049 GMT, shares in AstraZeneca were down 120 pence at
26.85 pounds. They have risen 28 percent in the past year,
outperforming the FTSE 100 .FTSE index by 84 percent.
(Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Simon Jessop)