Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) – is set to disappear this month, amid allegations of broken promises by its parent AstraZeneca.
AstraZeneca is merging the company, which it bought for £702 million in 2006, into Medimmune, the much larger American business that it paid more than $15.2 billion for in April this year. It plans to build Medimmune into a standalone subsidiary focused entirely on developing “biologic” drugs – those produced from living material rather than conventional pharmaceuticals.
The new Medimmune will be comprised of CAT, the existing US company based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and other parts of AstraZeneca that specialise in biotechnology rather than conventional pharmaceuticals. The decision has prompted accusations that AstraZeneca has broken pledges made at the time of the acquisition not to interfere with CAT’s own business culture and identity. The changes have led to about 30 redundancies at CAT – or around 10 per cent of its roughly 300-strong work-force.
As part of the changes, two senior CAT executives have left – Hamish Cameron, the former chief executive, and Alex Duncan, the research chief. Mr Cameron has joined a different part of AstraZeneca.
Established in the early 1990s, CAT emerged as a leading player in the development of drugs from antibodies and floated in London in 1997.