Newly-merged Pfizer unveils streamlined R&D operations
Pfizer is to close six research sites in the US and two in the UK to create its new streamlined R&D operations.
The company formally completed its merger with Wyeth on 15 October, and is now unveiling the structure it hopes will help it to maintain its R&D productivity and profitability for years to come.
Pfizer will have five core research sites that will serve as hubs for its research activities, which will be split into three distinct units – BioTherapeutics, PharmaTherapeutics and Vaccines.
These sites are: Cambridge, Massachusetts; Groton, Connecticut; Pearl River in New York state; La Jolla, California and Sandwich, Kent in the UK.
These labs will be supplemented by specialised research capabilities, such as monoclonal antibody discovery centre in San Francisco, regenerative medicine work in Cambridge, UK, and research and development activities in Shanghai, China.
The company is closing its R&D operations in Princeton, New Jersey; Chazy, Rouses Point and Plattsburgh, in New York state; Sanford and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Gosport and Slough/Taplow, in southern England. In addition, Pfizer will consolidate R&D functions from its New London site in Connecticut, to its nearby research facility in Groton.
The 160-acre Groton site employs 4,000 people, and Pfizer calls it “the largest pharmaceutical research facility in the world.” The much smaller New London facility was opened in 2001, and employs about 2,000, and has served as the headquarters for Pfizer’s R&D management.
The company is also moving a number of functions from three other US sites (Collegeville, Pearl River and St. Louis) to other locations.
Before the companies combined, Pfizer had around 9,000 researchers and technicians, and Wyeth had approximately 4,500.
The company has already declared its aim to make 19,500 job losses across the entire merged company, and this announcement will account for a large proportion of that total.
However announcements covering other divisions, including sales and marketing have yet to be made, and will undoubtedly see duplication eliminated and further streamlining.
The R&D rationalisation will result in Pfizer reducing its global R&D square footage by 35%. R&D activities will now be conducted in just five main sites and nine specialised units around the world, as compared with 20 R&D sites across the two merged companies.
“In less than a month, we have made complex business decisions needed to combine these two R&D organisations thoughtfully yet quickly,” said Martin Mackay, president of PharmaTherapeutics Research & Development.
“Moving forward on our aggressive timeline, we are analysing the combined portfolio and prioritising research projects that will address unmet medical need and bring Pfizer’s scientific and competitive advantage to the benefit of patients.”
Pfizer’s BioTherapeutics division will focus on large-molecule and vaccine research, while its PharmaTherapeutics division will concentrate on small molecule discovery and drug delivery technologies.
The two divisions will work together in high-priority disease areas – neuroscience, pain, inflammation, oncology, metabolic disorders, vaccines and infectious diseases.
The company will also set up disease-specific research units and biotech units that will work across both divisions. The aim of these is to provide the disease area and technology expertise needed to serve R&D for what the company calls ‘high-impact’ medicines for patients.
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