Best investor event: why AstraZeneca won

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals company won the award for best investor event at the IR Magazine – Awards Europe 2017

When AstraZeneca decided to organize a sell-side analyst science event to highlight a potential new class of cancer medicines, it was all about going back to the roots of DNA.

The discovery of human DNA was first announced in February 1953 at the Eagle Pub in Cambridge, UK, by the Nobel prize-winning scientists James Watson and Francis Crick. For the IR team, this ‘birthplace’ of gene technology, felt a suitable venue to host its informative session on DNA Damage Response (DDR).

DDR, an area that has been previously overlooked in the pharmaceutical industry, has the potential to treat over half of all cancers, according to AstraZeneca research.

‘We hosted a presentation and Q&A in the pub over food and special DNA beer with our head of research and early development, the head of oncology development and a leading scientist who helped develop Lynparza, the first DDR medicine approved globally,’ explains Nick Stone, AstraZeneca’s IR director. ‘The presentation highlighted the current marketed medicines, but mainly the emerging portfolio and gave sell-side analysts the ability to have a deep dive into what we believe is the next area of innovative cancer treatment.’

The team had also planned for the CFO and the head of global marketing to ‘strategically’ stop by for more Q&A towards the end of the meeting.

Following the event, which received great feedback from both audience and executive team members, the DDR portfolio is now on the analysts’ radar screens, where it was previously not so apparent, Stone notes. ‘As some value is now attributed to the new medicines, it has also helped ensure fair valuation of this part of the company,’ he says. ‘Additional benefits included the sharing of educational information in an immersive experience that helped enhance and further build relations with sell-side analysts.’

Three out of five judges ranked AstraZeneca’s initiative as their top pick for the best investor event award. Abigail Herron from Aviva Investors noted the ‘compelling, memorable framing of the event to stimulate interest,’ while former IRO Catherine James praised the event’s ‘imaginative, great content,’ which provided both ‘context and access’.

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