AstraZeneca shares drop after drug trial result

AstraZeneca sign
Image caption AstraZeneca's profits stayed flat in the third quarter of 2011

Shares in AstraZeneca have declined after an anti-depressant drug failed to perform as well as hoped.

The UK's second-largest drugmaker said the drug, known as TC-5214, was not as impressive as hoped in the first of four tests on its effectiveness.

The share price dropped 4.1% by midday.

AstraZeneca hopes that the drug will replace earnings from its existing anti-depressant, Seroquel, which will face competition from generic rivals as its patent expires next year.

Last month, the Anglo-Swedish company said that pre-tax profits were little changed at $3.08bn (£1.93bn) for the third quarter of 2011.

It blamed competition from generic producers, and government price interventions.

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