Pfizer to chop up to $3B from R&D budget

Signaling that Pfizer's "monolithic" approach to drug R&D is over, CEO Jeffrey Kindler laid out plans to carve $3 billion out of the newly merged company's budget for R&D as the pharma giant shifts away from its traditional reliance on in-house projects and opens itself more to partnerships and collaboration.

Pfizer has been an industry leader when it comes to R&D spending, but like many of its Big Pharma brethren the company has had little to boast of despite all its high-price efforts. In 2008 Wyeth and Pfizer spent a combined $11 billion on research. By 2012, though, the merged company plans to whittle that figure back to $8 billion to $8.5 billion.

"The days of a monolithic approach to either research or commercialization are behind us," Kindler told investors. And Pfizer executives outlined a total of $7 billion in savings that it plans to make in the near future.

Pfizer's plans to significantly scale back R&D spending comes as GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and others are also rethinking how to go about the enormously expensive task of discovering and advancing new therapies to the marketplace. A number of consultants have been hammering away at the Big Pharma R&D empires, saying that the companies' investments have never paid off properly. And more and more experts say that the big marketing groups would be better off partnering with smaller discoverers who are more nimble and efficient at early-stage work.

- here's the report from the Wall Street Journal