James Gard: Welcome to Morningstar. This week is all about innovation. There are so many innovative companies in Britain that it’s hard to choose in a crowded field. But our stock of the week is AstraZeneca, which was named as one of the world’s most innovative companies according to the Boston Consulting Group.
Innovations range from the trivial to the serious. Also, Astra’s role in bringing lifesaving COVID vaccines to the public cannot be overstated. Cambridge-based Astra represents Britain’s biggest centers of innovation, including leading universities and the life sciences sector. Astra also has an R&D center in Sweden, which itself is ranked as one of the most innovative countries in the world.
Big pharma companies are more than just vaccine makers, of course. Astra has recently launched two cancer drugs, for example. Morningstar analyst, Damien Conover, says that Astra’s drug pipeline is one of the strongest in the sector. The company is also developing several key products that hold blockbuster potential, he says.
So, what about Astra as an investment? Their shares are up around 90% over the last five years, and the company is the second largest in the FTSE 100. According to Morningstar analysts, the shares are trading just below their fair value, but the company has a wide economic moat.