Pfizer Announces R&D Facility Consolidation

November 19, 2009
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Following the its $68-billion acquisition of Wyeth (Madison, NJ), Pfizer (New York) Pfizer detailed plans for its global research and development (R&D) network, which includes consolidation of its R&D facilities.

Following the its $68-billion acquisition of Wyeth (Madison, NJ), Pfizer (New York) detailed plans for its global research and development (R&D) network, which includes the consolidation of its R&D facilities. Pfizer says the plan focuses on 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, Massachusetts; Groton, Connecticut; Pearl River, New York; La Jolla, California; and Sandwich, England. These research-oriented laboratories will be supplemented by specialized research capabilities, such as monoclonal antibody discovery in San Francisco, regenerative medicine work in Cambridge, England, and R&D activities in Shanghai.

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, Pennsylvania; Pearl River, New York; and St. Louis to other locations and will discontinue R&D operations in Princeton, New Jersey; Chazy, Rouses Point, and Plattsburgh, New York; Sanford and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and Gosport, Slough/Taplow, England. In addition, Pfizer will consolidate R&D functions from its New London, Connecticut, 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 the 20 R&D sites that were active upon closing the acquisition of Wyeth on Oct. 16, 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 of PharmaTherapeutics Research & Development, 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.”

Although 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.”