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AZ Plans U.S. Expansion

AstraZeneca plans to kick off a U.S. expansion anticipated to add 300 jobs so it can capitalize on a pipeline full of  strong candidates, which it is counting on to help return the company to growth by 2017.

“Our global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, has a robust pipeline of more than 120 biologics, including more than 30 in clinical development,” AstraZeneca Regional Vice President Andrew D. Skibo, explained in a statement. Nearly half of the company’s entire pipeline is made up of biologics.

In making his defense against Pfizer’s hostile takeover attempt earlier this year, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot promised $45 billion in sales by 2023, a huge goal, given that last year revenue reached only $27 billion, and 2014’s sales are forecast to grow only a little. But during an investor day last week, the CEO was talking up the pipeline, pointing to biologic drugs under development like the cancer med Olaparib, which it says can hit annual sales of $2 billion. It is up for global approvals early next year. Another potential winner is an immuno-oncology therapy targeting PD-L1 that the company is counting on for $6.5 billion a year in peak sales.