Star fund manager Neil Woodford says UK pharma still a good bet

Adam Hignett
Neil Woodford says R&D productivity is gaining pace following a sector-wide slump
British science is in great shape according to Neil Woodford, one of the UK’s best known and most successful fund managers.

Woodford, a long time investor in pharmaceuticals, said the industry remains an attractive place for those looking to make long- term returns on their investment as innovation and R&D productivity continues to gather pace, following a sector wide slump at the turn of the century.

Woodford said the number of new drugs being approved by the FDA was the second highest on record and admitted that while attempting to forecast the potential success and sales trajectory of new drugs is an art rather than a science, the best approach is to see whether these new drugs are accurately being priced into the share price.

By way of an example, Woodford said he bought into Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham in the 1990s, prior to their merger, as he saw the fast pace of drug innovation did not appear to be reflected in the modest valuations. While not as cheap as it was at the turn of the century, the pharmaceutical sector still offers good value, he said.

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