- AstraZeneca is spinning off its Waltham, MA-based antibiotics division, allowing the company to focus on key pipelines, including cardio metabolic diseases, oncology, and respiratory and inflammation.
- The estimate is that 95 employees will be affected, though some of those who are affected will be offered job in other parts of AZ or the new antibiotics subsidiary.
- Although AZ will be decreasing its overall investment in antibiotics, the anti-infection drugs it has on the market (such as Merrem and Zinforo for example) will stay on the market and it will continue development of a late clinical stage product.
AstraZeneca is one of many companies that are not investing heavily in the development of anti-infectives, which is a problem because of the growing challenge of the explosion of multi-drug resistant infections, especially in hospital settings.
In contrast to AZ, Merck has continued to invest in development of antibiotics, having recently purchased Cubist for $8.4 billion. A highly regarded economist, Venki Ramakrishnan, who presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January suggested that development of antibiotics should not be the exclusive purview of drug makers, but of governments and non-governmental organizations.