AstraZeneca share price: Drugmaker to unveil alliance with Cambridge University
AstraZeneca Plc (LON:AZN) is set to unveil an alliance with Cambridge University to fund 50 PhD students over the next five years, The Sunday Times has revealed. The move comes amid rising pressure on the pharmco’s chief executive Pascal Soriot to improve the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker’s fortunes, having promised investors to nearly double group turnover by 2023.
AstraZeneca’s share price has lost ground in morning trade, having shed 1.44 percent to 4,133.00p as of 09:53 BST. The decline is largely in line with a drop in the broader market, with the FTSE 100 index currently standing 1.25 percent lower at 6,668.76 points.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that AstraZeneca was set to unveil an alliance with Cambridge University this week which will see the blue-chip pharma group fund 50 PhD students over the next five years. The company is expected to fund up to 10 PhD students a year.
The newspaper, however, notes that the programme is unlikely to appease analysts, who are sceptical that Soriot can deliver on his plans. Last year, AstraZeneca’s chief executive promised investors to nearly double turnover, from $26 billion (£16.5 billion) last year, to $45 billion in 2023, as part of his successful defence against Pfizer Inc’s (NYSE:PFE) £69-billion takeover approach. Earlier this year, however, AstraZeneca forecast that its full-year total revenue would decline by mid single-digit percent at constant exchange rates.
On Friday, HSBC initiated coverage of the Anglo-Swedish group with a ‘hold’ rating with a price target of 4,640p.
“The shares are at a slight discount to the sector and this is the case for other valuation metrics as well,” the analysts said, as quoted by Sharecast. “However, with future growth highly dependent on the prospects for the R&D pipeline, arguably a discount is warranted until some of those risks are mitigated.”
As of 10:40 BST, Monday, 29 June, AstraZeneca plc share price is 4,124.50p.