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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline

« How Not to Do It: Sophomore Organic Edition | Main | Back on the Air »

January 17, 2007

Pfizer's Pfinances

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Posted by Derek

Pfizer's making a big announcement next Monday: but what are they announcing? People inside the company don't seem to have a good handle on the details, which means that the people outside it know even less. But here are the most popular guesses, which together add up to the conventional wisdom:

1. Whacking big cuts in the sales force (yes, on top of the whacking big ones already announced). Europe takes it harder than the US. And yes, I'm tempted to add "for once", but that would be petty of me.

2. Less extensive cuts in front-office type jobs, with the pain spread around pretty evenly.

3. Research mostly escapes with absolutely flat budgets (which beats getting cut, for sure). Pfizer's under a pretty general hiring freeze, which might or might not stay in place - depends on if management considers attrition a bug or a feature.

4. If nasty things happen to research, their nastiness will be roughly proportional to the square of the distance from the site(s) in question to Groton, Connecticut. For what it's worth, which probably isn't much, La Jolla (ex-Agouron) and St. Louis (ex-Monsanto) are being mentioned most often on the downside. Michigan? Good question.

I should emphasize that I have no inside track on any of this. I know people inside the company, but they don't know anything specific on what's coming, either. Having been through several rounds of this kind of thing, I can attest to the fact that in most of these situations, the old Wall Street adage holds: those who say don't know, because those who know aren't saying. But, for what it's worth, this is what the Pharma Street thinks will happen. On Monday, we'll check in with reality.

Comments (22) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Anonymous on January 18, 2007 7:25 AM writes...

Option 4.

Kindler managed Boston Market. A store with a poor location gets shut. A staff with a history of burning the meatloaf explores other opportunities.

No pipeline and burned meatloaf are analogous in the mind of an outsider.

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2. Johnny Dequino on January 18, 2007 11:50 AM writes...

Speculation is a buyout of NKTR.

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3. Johnny Dequino on January 18, 2007 11:50 AM writes...

Speculation is a buyout of NKTR.

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4. tom bartlett on January 18, 2007 12:01 PM writes...

So... does option 4 mean BOTH Chesterfield and La Jolla, or just La Jolla?

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5. Srikanth on January 18, 2007 4:26 PM writes...

Srikanth has news for Americans. Proof that USA is full of second rate workers.

Yesterday (jan 17th) wall street juronal in editorial say that only 15% of americans qualified to go to college! Say they are too dumb and should go to school to become carpenters. He say not education the problem, just dumb people!

Real quote!

"Put another way, it makes sense for 15% of the population, 25% if one stretches it, to get a college education."

Too much french fry clogs brain and makes IQ lower (my theory).

Today Federal government official (name is Bern- something) say that must increase immigration to 300,000 a month because so many jobs and Americans too old to work.

So now you have proof from a special very educated American that most people holding college jobs today in USA should be ashamed! Proof of why Srikanth is here. Phony qualified workers! Like immitation cheese, not as good as real thing. That is being criminal.

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6. Anonymous BMS Researcher on January 18, 2007 7:43 PM writes...

Your remark about the square of the distance from Groton reminds me of a longstanding joke at the BMS Wallingford site: if Pfizer ever takes us over, whatever else happens at least our New Jersey sites will no longer consider themselves the center of the universe. (Note to readers unfamiliar with BMS: we have three main R&D sites in the Princeton area and one in Wallingford, CT).

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7. MikeEast on January 18, 2007 10:16 PM writes...

Srikanth - Oh the irony. Perhaps you should reread the editorial. I think my job is safe from the likes of you.

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8. GA on January 19, 2007 9:47 AM writes...

Just fantasizing, Derek, but is there a way to stop the obvious troll from posting here? As an Indian, I cringe everytime I read him.

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9. Anonymous on January 19, 2007 11:19 AM writes...

I believe the Novartis/Scripps partnership has expired and Pfizer has taken the place of Novartis. I expect no layoffs of Pfizer employees in La Jolla in order to capitalize on this new allegiance.

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10. qetzal on January 19, 2007 11:40 AM writes...

In my experience, people as arrogant and egotistical as Srikanth seems to be often have only mediocre abilities. And even if their abilities really are superior, they're so hard to get along with that their net impact in a team environment (like pharma/biotech) still ends up being negative.

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11. Srikanth on January 19, 2007 2:44 PM writes...

I not care what you say about me. I hear American whisper behind my back in food stores. I am the future, that is true. American girls should not think me bad looking. Wall Street Journal (JAN 17) called most americans dumb, that is the truth. Read it if you don't think its true. Sriknath not ego person, he reality person. Will kiss anyones ass and become slave to work. Why lazy americans lose jobs and replaced by srikanth.

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12. Kay on January 19, 2007 3:17 PM writes...

I expect further cuts in La Jolla, leaving just enough staff to "manage" the new "incubator." What do folks think of this "incubator" idea?

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13. syn-med on January 19, 2007 4:44 PM writes...

As a foreign born scientist myself, I thank America everyday for giving me all the wonderful opportunities.

A fool is better ignored than responded to. Let's all do that.

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14. Jeremiah on January 19, 2007 11:27 PM writes...

Don't you think, what with trying to find a new job in pharmaland and all, that it would be best to lay off the random speculation of the impending doom of other companies? Just asking.

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15. weirdo on January 20, 2007 2:14 PM writes...

Derek isn't being random. For several months now, Pfizer employees have been telling their friends at other companies that a big announcement was coming in January. And Pfizer itself has publically stated that on Monday, "spending cuts" are coming.
Any regular reader of this blog can tell you that this was all predictable based upon the unworkable business model that is Pfizer, Inc. Torc' was maybe the catalyst for this particular event, but if it weren't this drug failure it would be something else. Pfizer can't innovate it's way to growth, it needs to buy it's way to growth. It is no more complex than that.

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16. no1 on January 20, 2007 3:48 PM writes...

The Nagoya site is closing, all of it.
Or so I heard...

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17. Mitch on January 20, 2007 3:48 PM writes...

That would explain the huge spike in my traffic logs of people searching for variations of "Pfizer rumors"


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18. no1 on January 20, 2007 5:11 PM writes...

Not me, I got here from Rich Apodaca's site


nice blog btw and good luck with the job hunting

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19. PFE_rumor_mill on January 21, 2007 4:40 AM writes...

I have heard Ann Arbor, Nagoya, Groton, New London, St. Louis, and La Jolla as places which will be shut so far. I have also heard that they are selling Kalamazoo Animal Health. The only place I have not heard shut down rumors for is Cambridge and Sandwich. With so many rumors flying I am forced to wait with the other 100,000 employees to see what the truth is Monday. If it is in line with what usually happens in situations like this, there will be a bunch of sad individuals. I am sick of watching people cry in the halls, but I guess that's the downside of working in huge pharma. From an insiders perspective, Pfizer really needs a slimming down so it can function again.

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20. Srikanth on January 24, 2007 5:52 PM writes...

I am sorry for all the comments I have left...I did not mean to offend people. I apologize...I was just in a bad mood.

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21. Srikanth on January 25, 2007 6:38 PM writes...

Bad person who impersonate other. But I am surely in a bad mood sleeping on couch. Cold place northeast. Do what you say, I dont care. I have a job and will be off couch in a few weeks. Then I will get fat, because all my money is low now. Probably Dereke be hired at my corporation and be my boss. I will say I never heard of him.

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22. Pfizer Employee in BK on February 6, 2007 11:33 PM writes...

Pfizer's flagship facility in Brooklyn, NY is also closing. We've had three "downsizing waves" in the past 2 years, going from a high of 1200 employees to our current figure of approx. 600. Pfizer announced in January that it will close the facility by Dec. 31, 2008. This is a huge blow to Brooklyn and the city of New York.

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