The pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca has acquired US biotechnology company, MedImmune for more the £7.5 billion.

The acquisition is the biggest financial struck by the Anglo-Dutch group since its merger in 1999.

The cash deal is expected to bolster the company’s pipeline, particularly in the face of looming competition from producers of generic alternatives to its schizophrenia drug Seroquel, cholesterol inhibitor Crestor and top-seller Nexium for stomach acid.

MedImmune is one of the largest US producer of biotech medicines, and as such, analysts have said its addition would fit well with Cambridge Antibody Technology, another, smaller biotech firm AstraZeneca recently acquired.

The company, which ranked 85 in CIO UK’s top 100 IT users in 2006 has also been involved in specific IT programmes to support drug discovery and development activities.

These include a customer relationship management (CRM) and PeopleSoft human resources (HR) system implementation as well as global SAP, CRM, HR and email upgrades that are designed to improve the drug discovery and development process.