Pfizer dumping heart disease focus in R&D restructuring

In a major reorganization of its research efforts, Pfizer is abandoning its early-stage work in heart disease, leaving a field that has produced some of its biggest blockbusters. In addition, the Wall Street Journal reports that Pfizer plans to announce later today that it is dropping research projects in obesity and bone density. The pharma giant says it will look for partners to carry on the work.

"We still see the programs that we're stopping as having value," said Martin Mackay, Pfizer's head of research and development. "They're just not as valuable as other programs, like Alzheimer's or oncology."

Citing an internal memo, Forbes reports that Pfizer will stop work in anemia; bone diseases like osteoporosis; liver disease; muscle disease; obesity; the biological causes of arthritis; and peripheral artery disease, or blood clots in the leg. "Pfizer will focus on five big disease areas: Alzheimer's; diabetes, immune disorders and inflammation; cancer; pain; and mental illness, including schizophrenia."

The change is reportedly being made without any plans to cut research jobs. And Pfizer says it will continue to pursue late-stage programs, including an anti-clotting drug it is working on with Bristol-Myers.

- read the report in the Wall Street Journal
- check out the story in Forbes