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Astra CEO Lands Mega-Deal, Defends Vaccine in Sydney Quarantine

Dec. 14, 2020, 8:16 AM

Pascal Soriot, the head of AstraZeneca Plc, spent around two weeks in a Sydney hotel room with guards outside the door, stuck in quarantine after entering Australia.

During that time, he helped put the finishing touches on a $39 billion acquisition, while also parrying concerns over the much-anticipated Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca developed with the University of Oxford. That two such important developments should emerge while he was in confinement shows how crucial this moment is for the drugmaker — and for Soriot’s legacy. Not even the chief executive officer of one of Britain’s most valuable companies can escape the pandemic’s grasp. But Soriot didn’t let ...