Pfizer's potential offload of biz units could aid R&D prospects

Pfizer chief Ian Read's (photo) strategy to make the drug giant a more focused machine is gaining some kudos--especially as it relates to how this strategy could boost the firm's top pipeline candidates.

On the heels of Pfizer revealing plans to potentially offload its animal health and nutritional products divisions, Bloomberg reports this morning that the gambit could help the company ($PFE) sharpen its focus on late-stage candidates, including lung cancer drug crizotinib, blood-thinner apixaban and rheumatoid arthritis pill tofacitinib. Pfizer's chief has also said one of the priorities for the proceeds of the potential sales--which analysts at Leerink Swann say could bring in some $22 billion--is to reinvest the money is developing new drugs.

While Pfizer sees declining revenue from the mega-blockbuster Lipitor, sales of those top three contenders in the company's pipeline could bring in $3 billion within four years time, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Clearly, if you're a Big Pharma, there's nothing like tacking on a few new blockbuster drugs to your product portfolio to rescue your fortunes as old drugs lose patent protection. And investing in the pipeline is one way to keep the hits coming.

"In the next 3 to 6 months, there's going to be a lot of pipeline news, and as Pfizer gets smaller the pipeline becomes more important," David Maris, an analyst with CLSA, told Bloomberg. "This is a management team that is following through on what they said they would do, which is take a fresh look at the business and decide what is important and what is not."

- check out the Bloomberg report