Five years later: The $15.6 billion purchase of MedImmune

It has been five years since British drugmaker AstraZeneca spent $15.6 billion on Gaithersburg, Maryland-based MedImmune and it remains to be seen if the company was worth the hefty sum.

In 2007, when the acquisition occurred, MedImmune had approximately 1,700 employees on its payroll. The company now has 2,600 employees in Maryland and 4,000 globally, the Washington Post reports.

MedImmune also expanded its drug development pipeline from approximately 27 compounds to 150 during the past five years. While the company found success in a 2009 swine flu vaccine and in 2012 with approval of the first four-strain intranasal flu vaccine, it has yet to have a blockbuster drug to justify the purchase price.

"If they do come to the market and become major blockbusters, you can kind of see the price justified," Damien Conover, the director of pharmaceutical research at Morningstar, said, according to the Washington Post. "But it's probably pretty accurate at this point to say it was an overpayment."

Though AstraZeneca may have paid too much for MedImmune, the local job market in Maryland and Washington has benefited greatly from the influx of scientists and resources.

"(MedImmune has) more than doubled R&D, hiring a number of people that we were able to attract to this really great area," Bahija Jallal, the executive vice president of MedImmune's research and development department, said, according to the Washington Post. "We were able to attract people from the (San Francisco) Bay Area, from the East Coast, from everywhere."

In addition, AstraZeneca was able to make MedImmune the hub of its biologics division, a practice in which medicine is developed from living organism.

"I personally believe (biologics) are the future of drug development in our industry, they just need time to continue to germinate," Peter Greenleaf, the president of MedImmune, said, according to the Washington Post.