Following its $68-billion acquisition of Wyeth, Pfizer has unveiled detailed plans for its global R&D network, which includes consolidation of its R&D facilities. Pfizer says the plan focuses disease-area research in single locations and more efficiently uses the company’s real estate.
As it had previously announced, Pfizer’s new R&D organization includes a BioTherapeutics division focused on large-molecules and vaccine research and a PharmaTherapeutics division focused 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. Disease-specific research units and biotechnology units work across both divisions to provide the disease area and technology expertise needed to discover and deliver high-impact medicines for patients
Pfizer will have five main research sites that will serve as central hubs for research activities in the BioTherapeutics and PharmaTherapeutics divisions and vaccines business. These sites are: Cambridge (MA, USA), Groton (CT, USA), Pearl River (NY, USA), La Jolla (CA, USA) and Sandwich (UK). These research-oriented laboratories will be supplemented by specialized research capabilities, such as monoclonal antibody discovery in San Francisco (CA, USA), regenerative medicine work in the UK and R&D activities in Shanghai (China).
As part of the consolidation of research sites, Pfizer will significantly reduce R&D activities at some of its sites. The company will move a number of functions from Collegeville (PA, USA), Pearl River (NY, USA) and St. Louis (MO, USA) to other locations, and will discontinue R&D operations in Princeton (NJ, USA); Chazy, Rouses Point and Plattsburgh (NY, USA), Sanford and Research Triangle Park (NC, USA); and Gosport and Slough/Taplow (UK). In addition, Pfizer will consolidate R&D functions from its New London (CT, USA) site to its nearby research facility in Groton.
As a result of these changes, Pfizer will reduce its global R&D square footage by 35%. R&D activities will now be conducted at five main sites and nine specialized units around the world compared with 20 R&D sites upon closing the acquisition of Wyeth on 16 October 2009.
“In less than a month, we have made complex business decisions needed to combine these two R&D organizations thoughtfully yet quickly,” said Martin Mackay, President, PharmaTherapeutics R&D in a company press release. “Moving forward on our aggressive timeline, we are analyzing the combined portfolio and prioritizing research projects that will address unmet medical need and bring Pfizer’s scientific and competitive advantage to the benefit of patients.”
While these changes are expected to bolster productivity and reduce costs, they will result in staff reductions. Pfizer said it “is committed to supporting affected colleagues, their families and the affected communities through this transition.”