All things considered, the last year has been kind to AstraZeneca
To its credit, the company is also delivering the goods in terms of growth. Revenue was up 10% on a constant currency basis, with operating profits rising 30%. It certainly doesn't hurt that the company has several blockbuster drugs enjoying continued brisk growth. Crestor, Symbicort, Arimidex, and Seroquel are all legitimate blockbusters, each growing sales by 25% or more.
AstraZeneca also continues to try to burnish its somewhat lackluster pipeline. The company recently signed an agreement with Abbott Labs
The agreement itself is a little strange, though. I believe the Abbott drug(s) in question are fibrates -- a class of drug that is generally contraindicated in combination with Crestor. Now, I'm not a pharmacologist, chemist, or any other sort of scientific specialist, but even if the drug makes it through trials (which aren't likely until 2009 or 2010), I wonder whether physicians might remain nervous about prescribing such a combination.
In the meantime, as much as I hate to sound like a broken record, AstraZeneca is another of those "interesting but not cheap" stocks. Oh, it's not overvalued -- at least, not more than by a few percentage points. But it's no bargain, either. Longtime shareholders can decide for themselves whether to cash out, but I can't really see AstraZeneca as a top idea for new money.
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).