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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the middle of the week. This is, of course, a typically busy time, but today is busier than usual as we play catch up, having returned from a quick but productive road trip. To compensate, we are scurrying about to gather some interesting items we may have missed while away. To maintain this hurried pace, yes, we are quaffing a few cups of stimulation and, as always, invite you to join us. So please hoist your own cup as you dig in to the tidbits below. Have a swell day and do stay in touch. …

AstraZeneca (AZN) is spinning off six early-stage experimental drugs into a new $250 million standalone biotech company focused on severe autoimmune diseases, Reuters writes. The spinoff of the three clinical and three pre-clinical biological compounds is the latest instance in which the drug maker is pruning its non-core drug development work to focus on priority areas, notably in cancer. In 2017 deals involving asset sales and partnerships contributed $2.3 billion out of total revenue of $22.5 billion, prompting criticism from some analysts that such transactions unduly flatter results.

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