February 16, 2017 / 4:11 PM / 8 months ago

Top AstraZeneca shareholder Woodford adds to stake, bullish on outlook

FILE PHOTO: The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on a medication package at a pharmacy in London April 28, 2014. To match Insight CHINA-CANCER/BLACK MARKET REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Top AstraZeneca (AZN.L) shareholder Woodford Investment Management said on Wednesday it had added to its stake in the pharmaceutical firm and was confident in its growth outlook.

Woodford, in an update on its website, said shares in AstraZeneca had been unfairly hit since analysts raised concern about the prospects for its key cancer drug trial, Mystic, after rival Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY.N) scaled back its plans in a similar area.

“Whilst this is understandable to an extent, we think the reaction is wrong. Indeed, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s problems in this setting may well turn out to be positive for AstraZeneca,” Mitchell Fraser-Jones said in a note to investors.

Fraser-Jones said Woodford believed AstraZeneca was on a path to return to growth regardless of the outcome of Mystic, although it was nevertheless optimistic that Mystic would be successful when results are released later this year.

(Adds dropped word “trial” in second paragraph)

Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Susan Fenton

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