Ironically, just a month ago, Brennan received an 11 percent pay raise, despite concerns about pipeline problems and a looming patent cliff and cost-cutting that will include the elimination of 7,000 jobs (see here).
In March, AstraZeneca lost a bid to prevent generic competition to its multi-billion-dollar-selling antipsychotic drug, Seroquel. To help bolster its pipeline, the drugmaker earlier this week agreed to purchase Ardea Biosciences for $1.26 billion. It's the biggest deal made under Brennan's tutelage since buying Medimmune in 2007 for about $15.2 billion.
Not a lot has come out of the Medimmune acquisition, however, and AstraZeneca has since suffered disappointing clinical results for potential treatments for severe depression and ovarian cancer.
Brennan had a few stock words to say about his departure during a phone call with reporters about disappointing first-quarter financial results. "The time for reflection on what has been a long and rewarding career with AstraZeneca will have to wait until I hand over responsibilities," he says. "For now, my attention remains and will continue to remain 100 percent focused on delivering our strategy. But I do want to say that I am proud of what we have achieved in my time as chief executive."
Written by Chris Truelove