The cuts come soon after Merck squeezed out its previous R&D chief to bring on Roger Perlmutter, who previously held that job at Amgen--and amid major sales losses to generic competition.
The pharma giant said that it will reorganize its R&D and commercial operations to narrow and sharpen its development focus and carve out $2.5 billion in annual expenses, eliminating a total of about 20% of its 81,000 staff jobs when these new cuts are added to existing restructuring plans.
Being an R&D chief at a major biopharma company in today's environment of major research cutbacks, patent expirations and pressure from investors to speed new drugs to market is no easy...
Perlmutter has granted a few interviews this month with journalists and analysts, providing some clarity on how the immunologist plans to reshape how Merck prioritizes research of new medicines.
In the deal AstraZeneca is paying Merck $50 million upfront and a slate of undisclosed milestones to bring in MK-1775, a WEE1 inhibitor that Merck took up because of its potential to spur repeated cell division, offering a new way to destroy cancer cells.
Amgen was the first company to make it to the auction block for Onyx Pharmaceuticals. And in the end, it was the only serious bidder left at the table.
During Merck's last quarterly call, R&D chief Roger Perlmutter discussed cautiously reducing R&D spending by about $144 million this year. But Leerink Swann's Seamus Fernandez thinks a major restructuring is in order.
In breaking down the numbers on 98 publicly-traded pharma and biotech companies, Forbes ' Matthew Herper found that Big Pharma with its multibillion-dollar research budgets bears the lion's share of the cost.
In the Pipeline blogger Derek Lowe has spied signs of another tailoring move, noting that Merck has notified officials in New Jersey that it is terminating 113 positions in Kenilworth, where Schering-Plough's former headquarters was turned into an R&D campus back in 2011.
Merck unveiled lackluster second-quarter earnings on Tuesday, reminding industry watchers of the U.S. drug giant's need for new therapies. The need to renew the company's stock of new drugs puts recently appointed R&D chief Roger Perlmutter in the hot seat, and thus far his turnaround has been predictably slow to come.