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Pfizer defends AstraZeneca deal

Staff writer |
Pfizer defended the business case behind its plan to acquire AstraZeneca and questioned the UK drugmaker's ability to stand alone for much longer.

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Pfizer also said its agreement to complete AstraZeneca's new research centrer in Cambridge, retain a factory in northwest England and put a fifth of its research staff in Britain if the deal goes ahead were legally binding.

With its bid now the subject of heated debate in Britain's Houses of Parliament and across the country's news channels, the U.S. drugmaker took a harder line, saying the merger would create "a UK-based scientific powerhouse". It was also arguing that Britain's second biggest pharmaceuticals business lacked the financial muscle to make the most of its experimental medicines.

"Looming patent expiries and near term revenue losses jeopardize its ability to deliver on its very promising pipeline," Pfizer said in a submission to a parliamentary committee.

Pfizer's chief executive Ian Read faces questions from British lawmakers on Tuesday about his plans to acquire AstraZeneca. Lawmakers will also interrogate AstraZeneca's French CEO Pascal Soriot and business minister Vince Cable on Tuesday. Then a second parliamentary committee on May 14 will question both CEOs again, along with British science minister David Willetts.

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