Mackay moves to AZ as Dolsten takes Pfizer's R&D crown

Pfizer has announced a big change-up at the top of its R&D empire as it continues to meld its development program with Wyeth's. Mikael Dolsten (photo), M.D., PhD., the former head of Wyeth's R&D, has been named the global chief of Pfizer research and development as Martin Mackay (photo) bolts Pfizer to take the same job at AstraZeneca.

The move to push Dolsten to the top ends Pfizer's short experiment with a two-track approach to development. Post-merger Pfizer had separated its work on biologics and small molecules, leaving Dolsten and Mackay performing a two-man routine to explain how the combined $11 billion R&D operation would operate and slim down.  

"Since closing the Wyeth acquisition we have rapidly advanced integration, completing the pipeline portfolio review, finalizing decisions regarding our R&D network very quickly after close, and steadily progressing the pipeline. Rapid integration has been enhanced by strong and steady collaboration between the two legacy R&D groups--making the consolidation under one leader a natural and progressive step to take at this point," said Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler.

In naming Mackay head of R&D, AstraZeneca is creating a new position in the company. And he'll be joining another pharma company that has also been undergoing some major R&D changes of its own.

"We have a clear and unambiguous commitment to creating value through innovative biopharmaceuticals with research and development at the heart of our strategy," said AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan, Martin's appointment to this new role will provide a single point of senior accountability as we continue to make the changes necessary to improve the productivity and efficiency of our research and development organization."

- see Pfizer's press release on Dolson
- here's the release from AstraZeneca