Uncertainty over the future of AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot drove the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker's shares lower again on Friday, taking the cost of two days of silence to more than 3 billion pounds ($3.9 billion). Ciara Lee reports.
An expensive two days of silence... costing drugmaker AstraZeneca 3 billion pounds to be exact. Uncertainty over CEO Pascal Soriot saw the company's shareprice nose-dive. The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has declined to comment on an Israeli media report that Soriot was in talks to join Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries - the world's biggest generic drugmaker. AstraZeneca shares closed 3.5 percent lower on Thursday and were down 2.5 percent on Friday at a two-month low. The fall in shares has wiped 3.2 billion pounds off AstraZeneca's market value, leaving it at 62 billion pounds, or $80 billion. SOUNDBITE (English) CMC Markets, Market Analyst, David Madden, saying: "I think the share price decline has actually been a bit excessive. AstraZenica shares have been performing exceptionally well over the last number of years. They've been in a very steady uptrend for several years now. Only last month AstraZeneca shares hit an all time high. I think if anything this is just a bit of profit taking. Traders probably shouldn't read too much into it." Moving to a generics drugmaker would be a big change in direction for French-born Soriot. He's made research-based pharmaceuticals his whole drive at AstraZeneca. The timing of the report has alarmed investors, coming as the company waits for data from a lung cancer drug trial - seen as a game-changer for the firm. During his five years at AstraZeneca, Soriot successfully defended the company against a $118 billion takeover approach from Pfizer