AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), maker of drugs such as Nexium and Crestor has turned down Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) offer nearing $120 billion. Pfizer was looking to gain traction by obtaining AstraZeneca's pipeline of oncology drugs. Pfizer was also looking to get a corporate tax break by moving their headquarters to the U.K where AstraZeneca is based. Pfizer would gain a tremendous tax savings on foreign based revenue. The U.K's tax rate is moving to 20% effective April 2015 compared to the U.S. 35% corporate tax rate. The two companies could not agree on a final market price however as Pfizer's final bid was £55 per share; AstraZeneca maintained that it would not settle for less than £58 per share. The failed bid gives me some confidence in AstraZeneca's future.
AstraZeneca's future is still full of question marks considering its upcoming loss of patents on two of its largest drugs. Nexium which brought in $3.9 billion in sales in 2013 is losing its patent this month. Crestor which brought in 5.6 billion in 2013 will lose its patent in May of 2016. Crestor's sales have already fallen worldwide due to the loss of patents in Australia and Canada. AstraZeneca has tried to anticipate the loss of the patents, by selling the rights to the non-prescription form of Nexium to Pfizer in 2012 for $250 million as well as receiving royalties. Pfizer's new Nexium 24hr was released on May 27th, with a cost of $15-$30 depending on the package size. This is significantly less than prescription Nexium's price of $250 per month without insurance.
Despite their two biggest drugs losing or soon to lose patents and the inability to negotiate a deal with Pfizer they are standing firm in their future. Leif Johansson, Chairman of AstraZeneca, said: "We note Pfizer's confirmation that it no longer intends to make an offer for AstraZeneca. We welcome the opportunity to continue building on the momentum we have already demonstrated as an independent company."
What AstraZeneca has up their sleeve
So what exactly does AstraZeneca have up their sleeve? Data on a few of these drugs are being revealed this weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual conference in Chicago which starts on May 30th and will run until June 3rd. The big three for AstraZeneca in oncology include MEDI4736, AZD9291, and Olaparib.
MEDI4736 is AstraZeneca's PD-L1 immuno-oncology drug. This appears to be AstraZeneca's big hope as analysts are projecting between $2 billion and $7 billion a year while AstraZeneca anticipates $6.5 billion in peak annual sales. AZD9291 has been granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the US FDA for the treatment of patients with certain types of lung cancer. Projections for AZD9291 are around $3 billion by AstraZeneca. Olaparib is a PARP inhibitor being examined in breast and ovarian cancers. AstraZeneca projects that the drug may have peak annual sales of around $2.0 billion.
So was it a mistake?
Some investors are calling the decline of the offer a mistake, AstraZeneca stock took an initial tumble since the deal was declined. AstraZeneca is projecting that even with the loss of Nexium and Crestor over the next few years, the release of their new drugs should push them to 2013 profits by 2017. AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot, in his statement regarding Pfizer, issued an aggressive 10-year sales forecast, projecting sales would rise 75 percent to $45 billion by 2023.
Most of these projections are based on the release of their oncology pipeline. These projections are very subjective, however, and a lot remains to be seen, from both data and commercialization perspectives. The deal between Pfizer and AstraZeneca is still not necessarily over forever, as AstraZeneca can court Pfizer again in August and Pfizer can make an offer in six months.
A lot depends on the data and commercialization of AstraZeneca's drugs. While it's hard to know the future, I like the company's chances of restoring its top line growth over the next several years and will be watching it very closely. AstraZeneca looks poised to potentially start out on a new trajectory in innovative new drugs.
Andrew Maas has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.