Cambridge, MA a rare winner in Pfizer R&D gambit

Economic development officials in Connecticut and Massachusetts spent yesterday afternoon totting up the research jobs that would be lost and gained from Pfizer's big R&D shuffle. The final score was Groton, CT down by about 1,100 and Boston up by 350.

The new math on jobs includes the loss of 100 positions in Boston as Pfizer closes a lab on Memorial Drive in Cambridge--which works on regenerative medicine and oligonuceotide therapeutics--while adding 450 jobs in the area as it consolidates its neuroscience and cardiovascular metabolic research operations, according to the Boston Globe. As FierceBiotech first reported yesterday, Mikeal Dolsten, Pfizer's head of worldwide research, said the company plans to combine the workers it has in the Boston area into a central facility and is currently reviewing several options.

The gains in Boston, though, will be more than offset by the pharma company's decision to lay off a quarter of the 4,500 R&D workers Pfizer has in Connecticut.

Dogged by repeated clinical stage failures, Pfizer is billing the huge cut in the R&D budget as an opportunity to dramatically change the research culture at the big pharma company, outsourcing part of its trial responsibilities to CROs, dropping disease categories that don't look like big winners and collaborating more with academic groups, biotechs and other pharma companies. On that score, Cambridge, MA, with its big network of world class scientists and drug developers, looks to be one of the few big winners in the restructuring.

"R&D has been too rigid in the models of the past," Dolsten says. "We need to become more entrepreneurial and flexible."

- read the story from the Boston Globe