Page 2: Research and Development of new treatments
One of the most important benefits of the merger was the opportunity of investment in AstraZeneca’s research and development programme.
By bringing together the capabilities and facilities, AstraZeneca has been able to dramatically increase the scale of the research and development, providing more manpower, improved, shared technology and a larger number of laboratories. The combined expertise of some of the world’s most talented scientists provides an exciting environment for discovery and development.
AstraZeneca is now the second largest investor in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry world-wide. The amounts spent are enormous. A total of £1.5bn was spent in 1999 alone, over £5m per working day worldwide. The UK has a fine reputation in the field of medical research and development; six of the world’s top 25 selling medicines were developed in British laboratories.
The merger has enabled AstraZeneca to increase investment in the discovery and development of new chemical compounds the key building blocks of new medicines, which could become major brands of the future. Owing to the highly complex nature of the products and the technology needed to develop them, the pharmaceutical industry spends more on research and development than other industries.
Product life cycle
As in many industries, AstraZeneca develops and manufactures products that have a natural life span. After a long period of development and testing, sales of the new medicine will hopefully increase before reaching a period of stability. Eventually, sales will fall as patent protection is lost and new advances in science lead to the discovery of more effective products which will in their turn come onto the market. This is known as the product life cycle.