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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pfizer's move on Astra fuels fears for British science

(Reuters) – Pfizer’s plan to snap up its smaller rival AstraZeneca (AZN.L) has stoked concerns about Britain’s ability to remain a leader in life sciences, even as the U.S. drugmaker insists that it highly values UK research.

The pharmaceutical industry represents a rare manufacturing success story for Britain and its two flagship drugmakers – AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline – provide thousands of highly skilled, well-paid jobs.

AstraZeneca alone employs some 7,000 staff in Britain, even after recent hefty job cuts, and it exports almost 7 billion pounds of drugs each year, representing around 2.3 percent of all British exports of goods.

“AstraZeneca and GSK are the two pillars of the UK’s thriving and economically important life sciences sector, supporting biotech and academia across the science base,” said Sarah Main, director of the Campaign for Science & Engineering.

“To lose one of them to foreign ownership would be a blow.”

Pfizer's move on Astra fuels fears for British science

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