R&D chiefs weigh fallout from new mergers

Pfizer R&D chief Martin MacKay has vowed to meld the pharma giant's research ops with Wyeth's within two months of completing their planned merger.

"Between 30 to 60 days after close we will make significant announcements about what areas we're working in, who's going to run those areas. That's way quicker than anything we've done in the past," MacKay said at the Windhover Pharmaceutical Strategic Alliances conference in New York.

In a wide-ranging panel discussion at the conference, Elliot Sigal, the heard of research at Bristol-Myers Squibb, also said that BMS' takeover of Medarex hadn't satisfied his company's appetite for new acquisitions. "There's a lot of incentive to bring things in as an innovation strategy to manage the inevitable attrition."

Vertex research chief Peter Mueller told the audience that with $100 billion in drug sales headed over the patent cliff, disease should be the major focus of R&D, rather than cost cutting or new acquisitions.

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