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AstraZeneca Deal Shows Outsider’s Role in Building Cancer Giant

March 29, 2019, 1:15 PM

When Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot announced the restructuring of AstraZeneca Plc early this year, he put a New York doctor with limited corporate experience in charge of developing cancer drugs.

Now the reasons for choosing the scientist over an insider are becoming clearer. AstraZeneca is potentially investing almost $7 billion in a Daiichi Sankyo Co. drug that Jose Baselga, now the U.K. company’s executive vice president for oncology research and development, studied extensively at a top U.S. medical center. It’s another step in Soriot’s plan to transform Astra into a leader in the lucrative field.

Pascal Soriot
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“This is an ...