June 18, 2013 / 4:19 PM / 4 years ago

AstraZeneca turnaround is 3-4 year journey - CEO

LONDON (Reuters) - Turning around drug maker AstraZeneca (AZN.L) will be a long haul, with a strategy of revamping research and boosting acquisitions set to take up to four years to pay off, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, poses for a photograph in this undated picture provided by AstraZeneca in London on March 12, 2013. REUTERS/Marcus Lyon/AstraZeneca/Handout/Files

Speaking as the group unveiled the location for a new global headquarters and research centre in Cambridge, England, Pascal Soriot said he was not expecting any short-term fixes for the group, which is struggling from falling sales as patents expire.

“You’ve got to look at this over a horizon of three to four years, it is not a six-month horizon,” he said in a telephone interview from Cambridge. “And it is not going to be a smooth journey. We will have ups and downs.”

The company’s new $500 million (319.7 million pounds) site on the southern outskirts of the university town, which will be purpose-built, is only set for completion in 2016.

However, AstraZeneca plans to transfer some staff from its existing Alderley Park facility in northern England before then, possibly as early as the end of 2013, using rented laboratories and offices.

Soriot also said headline results of the so-called SAVOR clinical study looking at the potential heart benefits of diabetes drug Onglyza were due “in the next few days”, but he declined to comment further on the findings.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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