* AstraZeneca CEO may seek to add products to pipeline
* Strategy won't shift if any near-term products fail
* "Scale does not necessarily equal innovation" - Brennan
By Lisa Richwine
WASHINGTON, March 27 Drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc
(AZN.L) (AZN.N) does not need to follow rivals with a large
acquisition but may try to add products to its pipeline, the
company's chief executive said on Friday.
AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan said he did not see his
company joining a recent trend of major consolidation in the
"I don't believe we need to engage in a large transaction,"
Brennan told reporters when asked about his company's merger
Brennan touted six near-term new product opportunities for
the company and said he would "not necessarily" shift his
strategy if any of the drugs failed.
He said he "would be interested in acquiring things to
enhance our pipeline," but they would be "on the smaller side,
not on the larger side."
Major drug company mergers are underway in the United
States with Merck & Co Inc's (MRK.N) move to buy
Schering-Plough Corp SGP.N for $41 billion just six weeks
after Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) $68 billion purchase of Wyeth
European companies including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline
PLC (GSK.L) and Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) have shown no signs of
Companies on both sides of the Atlantic face slowing drug
sales, looming patent expirations and sliding prices as
politicians ratchet up pressure on the industry.
AstraZeneca itself is a perennial rumored takeover target
but analysts say uncertainty over patent expirations on key
cholesterol drug Crestor may dissuade buyers.
Brennan said AstraZeneca was well-positioned with six new
products expected to be under consideration by U.S. regulators
this year, including blood-thinner Brilinta and lung cancer
"I don't believe we're missing any technology right now,"
Brennan said when asked about potential product acquisitions or
Brennan said smaller companies still were able to compete
against drug giants and the recent mergers had not changed the
"Scale does not necessarily equal innovation," he said.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by John Wallace and Carol