Pfizer dumps about 100 drug development programs

Pfizer is whacking about 100 drug development programs out of a pipeline swollen by its merger with Wyeth. And Reuters reports that the bulk of the remaining 500 programs focus on six key areas: oncology, pain, inflammation, Alzheimer's disease, psychoses and diabetes.

Even after the culling process, though, Pfizer will still have significantly boosted the work its doing on vaccines and biotech drugs, a key reason for the merger. The move to slim down the R&D side has led to some dramatic moves over the past three months. Pfizer is determined to mesh the two big organizations together in record time.

"The programs we culled in this first piece, either there was overlap between the portfolios or we had a piece of scientific information" that led to discontinuations, said Pfizer's Martin Mackay. And the winnowing process isn't complete. "We will continue to prioritize the portfolio," Mackay added.

Most of the programs dropped from the combined pipeline were in early-stage testing, with only three in Phase II. The three mid-stage programs were focused on diabetes, pain and thrombosis. And Pfizer plans to sell or out-license what it no longer wants to keep. Pfizer is also dropping plans to combine Lyrica with other meds in an effort to create a new treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.

In the final tally for today, Pfizer is left with 30 oncology programs, 11 for inflammation, 10 for Alzheimer's and eight for pain.

- check out Pfizer's release
- here's the Reuters piece
- here's the Wall Street Journal story
- here's the AP report