Pfizer's Read Defends Astra Zeneca Bid

May 12, 2014

Pfizer CEO Ian Read from a company video
Credit Pfizer

Pfizer's chief executive will face questioning by politicians in the UK this week over the company's bid for rival pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca.

Pfizer has found itself firmly the in spotlight as British company Astra Zeneca has steadfastly refused to entertain a takeover offer. Pfizer is accused by its critics of merely seeking to avoid U.S. tax liability by moving its legal address to the UK, and some British lawmakers are concerned the deal would gut Astra Zeneca's research and development efforts.

Pfizer CEO Ian Read released a series of videos on the company's website this weekend outlining the business and scientific case for the takeover. "Firstly, their pipeline fits very well with our pipeline," he said in one video. "Immuno-oncology, inflammation, CVMED [cardio-vascular medicine]. We see a very interesting and powerful combination there."

Read also talked about how Pfizer has dealt with takeovers in the past, notably its 2009 acquisition of Wyeth. That deal resulted in the downgrading of Pfizer's Groton-New London site as it moved research and development projects to Cambridge, Massachusetts. "When we look at what we've done in the U.S." he said, "we've taken our research -- which was also dispersed across the U.S. -- and we've moved a lot of the research to Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is an area where there's a lot of exciting science being done, a lot of universities, a lot of talent where we can combine chemistry and biology, and we're very positive about our investment in Cambridge, Massachusetts."

Read references several other research and development centers of excellence in the videos, but Connecticut, once the company's global R&D headquarters, is not among them. Read will face questioning on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week before parliamentary select committees.