Pfizer's Kindler lays out his vision for R&D teams

Takeda isn't the only big pharma company looking for ways to push scientists into a new, more productive groove. Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler (photo) has made R&D productivity a key theme. And he sat down with the Wall Street Journal recently to review how R&D teams need to be structured in order to be successful.

First, he said, the teams have to be a manageable size. Say, no bigger than 100 to 150, so they can all fit into one cafeteria. Second, the team leaders, the CSOs, need to be at the top of their field. And, third, they need to be left alone to create a distinctive culture, being evaluated based on their success demonstrating proof of concept.

Given the lengthy timeline involved in new drug development, it will be quite awhile before anyone will be able to judge Pfizer's success. In the meantime, Glaxo is setting up a new R&D structure that requires scientists to compete for money, Sanofi is looking at slashing early-stage research and Merck is retooling its research work after concluding that 75 cents out of every dollar spent in R&D goes to support failure.

You could say that the status quo is no longer acceptable. Welcome to the cafeteria school of research.

- read the story from the Wall Street Journal