Pfizer/Wyeth merger could eliminate $3B, R&D jobs

In an interview with Bloomberg, Pfizer R&D chief Martin Mackay said the company could cut billions in R&D costs as it combines its laboratory operations with Wyeth's in the wake of their merger. Mackay declined to estimate exactly how much spending would be cut, but Deutsche Bank analyst Barbara Ryan predicts Pfizer won't exceed $8 billion in R&D spending--30 percent more than the two companies' combined budgets. Mackay confirmed that the combined research budget would be reduced as Pfizer reviews both companies' programs over the next six weeks. Up to $3 billion in R&D spending could be eliminated, according to Ryan, leaving thousands of scientists out of a job.

Last year Pfizer overhauled its internal R&D structure, moving away from its traditional focus on heart disease to develop more meds for diabetes, immune disorders and inflammation, cancer, pain and mental illness, including schizophrenia.

After Pfizer and Wyeth merge Mackay will oversee traditional pharmaceutical research while Mikael Dolsten, the current president of Wyeth research, will take charge of biotech drug development. "I don't think we're going to aim for the Pfizer culture or the Wyeth culture or any legacy company," Mackay told Bloomberg. "To make this work in this two-division model with Mikael and I running it, collaboration is going to be at the forefront."

- here's the Bloomberg report

ALSO: Info about the post-merger Pfizer is starting to trickle out. The company closed its $68 billion Wyeth buyout yesterday, and newspapers worldwide buzzed with news--and rumors, not to mention fears--about which facilities will survive the combination.  Report