All things considered, the last year has been kind to AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN). Investors seem to have more confidence in both its current growth and its management's ability to restock the company's pipeline. Among the many pharmaceutical stocks recently enjoying increased Wall Street love, AstraZeneca nearly tops the pile, coming out well ahead of Glaxo (NYSE:GSK), Novartis (NYSE:NVS), Wyeth (NYSE:WYE), and many others.

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 (NYSE:ABT) to develop a combination cholesterol drug around Crestor. The deal makes sense; Crestor is worth a lot to AstraZeneca, and management wants to squeeze every drop of potential from it, given competition from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Merck (NYSE:MRK), and everyone else.

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).