AstraZeneca bets on Asia research

AstraZeneca is placing new bets on drug research by signing deals with two Asian companies, just a day after suffering a double setback for two of its most important pipeline assets. Britain’s second biggest drugmaker said yesterday it had struck a global deal to co-develop a novel cancer treatment from FTSE-listed Hutchison China MediTech and bought options on a potential new class of diabetes pills from Astellas Pharma. The deals go some way to bolster AstraZeneca’s pipeline of experimental medicines in two priority areas for the company. But the addition to the portfolio will do little to offset concerns about AstraZeneca's increasingly fragile pipeline of new drugs, which was hit on Tuesday by setbacks in cancer and depression treatments.