Pfizer's Dolsten: Less R&D spending is better

Does Pfizer's smaller R&D budget mean less innovation at the company? Not at all, R&D chief Mikael Dolsten said to attendees at the Bio-Windhover Pharmaceutical Strategic Outlook conference. "We feel that the amount of investment in R&D that we are committing to is really the right number to drive the priorities we have put in place," Dolsten noted, according to Reuters.

Pfizer was the number one pharma R&D spender in 2010, as it has been in many years past. But the drug giant said in February that it would carve $1.5 billion out of its drug research budget, and move away from urology, internal medicine, allergies and RNAi work. That smaller research budget would place it well behind a number of its rivals. But Pfizer's massive R&D budget wasn't paying off, and Dolsten feels that a more strategic approach could benefit the company in the long run.

"I'm not convinced that more is necessarily better," Dolsten said, as quoted by Reuters. "If you take the perspective of science, business and finance together, where you want to deliver a good return of investment to shareholders and future investors as well as providing important products to patients, and we have tried really to have a comprehensive approach."

The company's promising pipeline programs include tofacitinib for rheumatoid arthritis, crizotinib for lung cancer and an expanded approval of Prevnar-13, the blockbuster childhood vaccine Pfizer inherited from Wyeth. Tofacitinib and crizotinib are in late-stage trials while data on Prevnar-13 for adults has already been submitted to the FDA.

- read the Reuters report

Special Report: Pfizer - The world's biggest R&D spenders