Market Report: AstraZeneca slips as blockbuster psoriasis drug looks doubtful

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The drugmaker said Amgen, its partner on the development of psoriasis treatment brodalumab, had pulled out of the project after suicidal thoughts had been observed in patients taking the medicine.

It added that it “will confirm its decision on the future development of brodalumab as soon as possible”.

UBS said it had seen the drug, which was intended to treat several ailments including psoriasis, as “a critical asset to contribute significantly to AstraZeneca’s bottom line from 2017”.

With its chances of making it to market now dented, Astra’s boasts of revenue growth when fending off Pfizer’s bid last year now look shakier and the bank cut its earnings forecast for 2017-2020 by 3% to 9%.

Investors were similarly negative and shares fell 44p to 4429.5p.

Oil giant Shell was also down after reports that it would shut a unit of a Singapore refinery that churns out 500,000 barrels-per-day of the black stuff for planned maintenance. It dropped 26p to 1974.5p.

Greek stock marketDeadline: Greece has just over a week to gather a £1.1 billion repayment to the IMF ready unless a new deal is struck (Picture: Alexandros Vlachos, EPA)


Those losses, plus renewed fears over Greece helped to drag the FTSE 100 27.77 points lower at 7003.95.

The troubled nation must hand over another repayment to the International Monetary Fund on June 5. “[Greece] is dangerously close to defaulting,” said David Madden, market analyst at IG.

There was better news for Saga, which was up 1.9p at 212.70p, after naming Nicola Audhlam-Gardiner as managing director.


Currently marketing director for Williams & Glyn, she joins the over-fifties group in August.

Industrial chain-maker Renold also rose 1.5p to hit 70.5p, on the back of an almost 50% increase in operating profit for the full-year.

On AIM, compost seller William Sinclair was knocked down 2.5p to 22p after it said a detailed review of the business, undertaken as part of a transformation plan, had revealed it would face a funding shortfall during the summer.


The company said management was considering options including raising capital, disposal of assets and more aggressive operational changes to resolve the matter.

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May 27, 2015 |
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