Shares rose on the 2017 sales forecast as investors looked forward to a time when AstraZeneca would finally put behind it a wave of patent expiries on its drugs. It was a defiant performance by Soriot - CEO for little over a year - whose long-term forecast suggested much of Wall Street had got his firm's valuation all wrong.
"Essentially we believe that we can return to growth faster than most people have been forecasting so far," he told the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. "Our next step would be that, by 2020, we want to launch at least 10 new medicines."
The previous week in New York, Frenchman Soriot and Swedish Chairman Leif Johansson had met with Scottish-born Pfizer boss Ian Read and his New Jersey finance head Frank D'Amelio to discuss details of a possible deal in the neutral ground of the Pierre hotel overlooking a snowy Central Park.
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Those talks in turn had been prefaced by an email and phone call from Read to Johansson proposing a merger on Nov. 25.
So both sides had plenty of time to develop a war-game for what was always going to be a politically charged takeover fight, involving the biggest attempted foreign takeover of a British firm and the creation of the world's largest pharmaceuticals group - with a conveniently reduced tax bill.
Yet despite a horde of advisers, Pfizer walked away on May 26 empty-handed, exactly four weeks after going public with its bid interest.
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The fight was actually lost a week earlier after an angry stand-off on Sunday May 18 in which both sides blamed each other for closing down talks on a $118 billion offer that was "only" about $8 billion adrift from the price AstraZeneca wanted.
This may not be the end, of course. Under UK takeover rules Pfizer is allowed to make a new approach in November, while AstraZeneca could invite Pfizer back into fresh talks on a new offer at the end of August, if the chorus from its shareholders demanding talks is loud enough.
It is a prospect some in the Pfizer camp are keen to talk up. "Most shareholders seem to think that this transaction is a good value-creating idea and that we are very close on price," said one person close to the U.S. firm. "I'm still hopeful that by the end of the year we will see this combination happening."
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A person familiar with the matter in the AstraZeneca camp also admitted: "It's still alive. There's still a lot of premium (in the share price)."
Whether Pfizer pounces again and AstraZeneca can escape once more depends on Soriot's ability to prove his firm's research labs have what it takes to deliver on his bold promises of growth by 2017 and a 75 percent increase in drug sales by 2023.
The first step in doing that involves Soriot climbing on yet another plane to America at the end of the week, this time to Chicago, where his team will showcase the latest clinical data on its cancer drugs at the May 30 to June 3 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
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AstraZeneca has already reported some good clinical trial results for one new lung cancer drug, known as AZD9291, which will be presented to doctors in full at ASCO.
That leaves the biggest question-mark over MEDI4736, a drug designed to fight tumors by tapping the immune system, which is being tested in combination with other medicines and which AstraZeneca reckons could become a $6.5 billion-a-year seller.
The quality of the clinical data on MEDI4736 will give investors important clues, but they will also be watching just as closely how similar drugs perform at ASCO from rivals like Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co.
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At the same time, AstraZeneca will look at its own deal-making options, including potential partnership agreements in cancer and other areas. It has already said it is exploring such options in infection and neuroscience.
Whatever the news from ASCO and on deals, however, many AstraZeneca investors remain deeply frustrated—and puzzled—at the way the biggest deal in the history of the pharmaceutical industry slipped away this month, depriving them of a windfall.
The reasons for that lie in the fraught weekend of May 17-18, when, after two days of grilling for both CEOs in front of two committees of British lawmakers, Pfizer came back with a sweetened offer of 53.50 pounds a share on the Friday night.