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Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

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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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« So, Do I Own This, Or What? Answer: What | Main | Pfizer's Site Closures - An Analysis »

November 9, 2009

Pfizer's New Layout

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Posted by Derek

The company has issued a press release detailed which sites are staying, and which are leaving:

Pfizer will have five main research sites that will serve as central hubs for research activities in BioTherapeutics, PharmaTherapeutics and Vaccines. These sites are: Cambridge, Mass.; Groton, Conn.; Pearl River, N.Y.; La Jolla, Calif.; and Sandwich, U.K. These research-oriented laboratories will be supplemented by specialized research capabilities, such as monoclonal antibody discovery in San Francisco, regenerative medicine work in Cambridge, U.K., and research and development activities in Shanghai, China. . .

. . .As part of the consolidation of research sites, Pfizer will significantly reduce R&D activities at some of its sites. The company will move a number of functions from Collegeville, Pa.; Pearl River, N.Y.; and St. Louis to other locations and will discontinue R&D operations in Princeton, N.J.; Chazy, Rouses Point and Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Sanford and Research Triangle Park, N.C.; and Gosport, Slough/Taplow, U.K. In addition, Pfizer will consolidate R&D functions from its New London, Conn., site to its nearby research facility in Groton, Conn.

What we don't know (yet) is how many people will be let go from these sites, and how many will be offered a moving package. Of course, last time around, some people moved and were let go in yet another round, but the future is unwritten. . .more on this as more details emerge.

Comments (23) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. davesnyd on November 9, 2009 2:55 PM writes...

The local fishwrap says 600 lost in St. Louis.

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2. Organic Synthesis on November 9, 2009 2:59 PM writes...

I am Synthetic Organic chemist about to graduate from a reputable group. I am so frustrated with these pharma layoffs and thinking to go to academics. So what do you guys think, is academic job is better in present context?

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3. You're Pfizered on November 9, 2009 3:15 PM writes...

Good luck either way. It's not like academic jobs are easy to come by either.

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4. OrgChemRedundant on November 9, 2009 3:54 PM writes...

Pharma versus academia? Two very different things. To make it in academia, you need to have lots of very compelling, original research ideas, get to know the chemists who sit on NIH study sections and stroke their egos continually, and focus your interests in very narrow topic areas. Until you get tenure, that is, then you can sit back and do very little. If you go the pharma route, prepare to relocate every few years between jobs.

You seem pretty young. Forget organic chemistry and go back to medical school.

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5. Anonymous on November 9, 2009 4:13 PM writes...

Autophagy the biologists would call it:

From Fierce Pharma summary

Total Pfizer jobs cut since 2005: 30,900

By tracy
Created Nov 9 2009 - 11:58am
First, we wondered who'd make a deal. Then we watched what shareholders would say, then looked to the regulators for their OK. Now that 2009's last megamerger has closed, all eyes are on the when, where, and how many of job cuts. And today's no exception.

Thanks to Jim Edwards at BNet Pharma, we now know just how many employees Pfizer has terminated since 2005. According to its official quarterly filing with the SEC, the drugmaker expensed employee termination costs for a total of 30,900 people, counting from June 2005 through September 27, 2009.

As of the end of the third quarter, the company had laid off 26,300 employees, leaving an estimated 4,600 more to be terminated. The company plans to lay off 19,500 as a result of the Wyeth merger and has said that 8,000 of those jobs were included in Pfizer's ongoing cost-cutting plan. Leaving 11,500, correct? It looks as if the 4,600 mentioned in the Q3 SEC filing would be part of that 8,000. So, we're looking at 16,100 jobs to be shed.

The question is, do the 8,000 jobs Pfizer included in the merger-related cuts amount to all of the jobs set for the axe from the Pfizer side of the business? Meaning that the 11,500 would be from the Wyeth side? Or are those 11,500 remaining merger-related cuts set to be shared? We'll have to wait for some official word on that.

Ironically, Pfizer is hiring in India, and Eli Lilly is staffing up in Japan and emerging markets while plotting 5,500 layoffs in the U.S. According to India's Economic Times, Pfizer India is looking to hire 200 over the next few months and plans to continue staffing up even as it joins hands with Wyeth India.

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6. You're Pfizered on November 9, 2009 4:22 PM writes...

Someone should put together a pool to wager on which major company will announce layoffs next.

Then again, there aren't that many out there who haven't already this year. Abbott maybe?

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7. Trace on November 9, 2009 4:51 PM writes...

I thought there was a shortage of Chemists?

Surely the national academies of science and the ACS wouldn't lie? My college professor said that only the weak students don't get jobs. I see advertisements from Pfizer all the time.

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8. dr. wish I did med on November 9, 2009 4:55 PM writes...

To 2:

1. step out of you lab and go ask your supervisor what he says to prospective PhD students about their career prospects.

2. is it too late to learn Chinese ? If you are fleunt in Chinese & English and have a PhD then you're set- because every pharma will want a link between head office and management in the US and research labs in China.

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9. PRL chemist on November 9, 2009 5:51 PM writes...

Between St. Louis, Pearl River, Princeton, and Collegeville there were about 400 chemists notified today that their positions will be gone by 1Q 2010. Only about 50-60 relocation packages will be offered.
Pfizer's new chemistry dept will be SMALLER than the pre-aquisition chemistry dept!!!! Not lying. This came strait from TW's mouth.

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10. Hap on November 9, 2009 5:58 PM writes...

"If you liked what we were doing with R+D, just wait until you see what we can do with EVEN LESS. With the magic of our management, we can make amazing things happen..."

Wait, I think that sounded better before I wrote that out.

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11. Jose on November 9, 2009 8:09 PM writes...

OrgSyn- getting career advice from the interwebs is iffy, but FWIW: academia is a wreck now too. NIH used to fund chem grants to the ~35th percentile, and that has narrowed to the 15th or so, as of 2-3 years ago. (Anyone know the current bracket?). Even solid, established PIs have a serious struggle. Biochem, or nano-bio-material groups have a better (but not easy) time. You need to be ferociously determined and uber-bright, and even then... not for the faint-hearted.

As for industry, I think the balloon has gone up, and it'll be most of a decade before sanity reasserts itself.

MD/PhD? ChemE? Look far afield. OrgSyn is just not a place to be these days, sadly. If the above numbers are spot on (Ie PFE having a smaller R&D effort post-merger), thinks are bleaker than anyone expected.

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12. Anonymous on November 9, 2009 9:06 PM writes...

All the BS about how this acquisition would be different from the others. I guess it's still the same old Pfizer.

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13. doctorpat on November 9, 2009 9:08 PM writes...

OrgSyn- Get into chemical processing of ores and other mineral processing areas.

Sure you'll have to live 900 km from the nearest nightclub, but you'll start on 80k/year and be in demand all over the world.

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14. InfMP on November 9, 2009 9:51 PM writes...

I just got a job offer this week from a small company. The pay is lower than big pharma. And they may close up shop if their first few compounds fail clinical. you never know. But these days it seems like there is less risk with the small guys since they aren't public.

Ive had several interviews in big pharma as well. I studied interview strategy hard and also solved every at-the-board problem, but terrible layoffs and mergers occurring between interview and offer prevented them from commiting....not a good sign.

As a freshly graduating person, I was scared for many months about no longer even having a lab to go's been a pretty scary ride. I was lucky that my chemistry worked and i got publications. There are numerous other people in my dept who are just as qualified as me, but are trying to find jobs at the mall because there is just no hope anymore....I have no experience outside of academics and ill tell you competing against hundreds of layoff people with tons of industry experience is NOT fun.

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15. Steve White on November 9, 2009 11:46 PM writes...

As I recall, the New London campus was the subject of the Kelo decision of the Supreme Court. Now they're closing it. Wonder what the neighbors think?

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16. Jose on November 10, 2009 12:54 AM writes...

InfMP- keep in mind you have the advantage here of being fairly inexperienced and (relatively) cheap. This advantage will disappear in ~5-7 yrs, so maximize it while you can!

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17. China Bonding on November 10, 2009 3:33 AM writes...

There are still jobs in China for experienced med chemists, but the window is closing. Also, still lots of opportunities for biology in all therapeutic areas. Shanghai is a great city and the projects are top tier. If you have 5+ years big pharma experience you should seriously consider it.

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18. Anonymous on November 10, 2009 3:50 AM writes...

China: Unless you dislike to live in a police country where authorities invent rules as they wish, the local government officials are corrupt and courts are one sick joke. Not mentioning the polution, the crowds and a pay scale that is half of what one can get in US.

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19. MikeyMedchem on November 10, 2009 7:23 AM writes...

#11 -- the recent NIH percentiles are around 6%, thanks to the paradoxical effect of the ARRA wit: lots of money comes into NIH for grants, a zillion proposals arrive (like 40,000 for 200 grants or something crazy like that), and very few are funded. The NIH then recommends people recycle those failed proposals into R21s or R01s, and, guess what, they get rejected again. So I'm not so sure these paylines are reflective of difficulty in getting funded, or if they are reflective of the glut of bad proposals from ARRA.

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20. Lee Howard on November 10, 2009 9:42 AM writes...

To get to the Pfizer layoff situation, check out this story I wrote a few weeks ago, after the company released details from its third-quarter earnings report. The gist is this: 6,500 legacy Pfizer employees already laid off, meaning only about 1,500 left to go to reach goal. About 11,500 Wyeth employees were to be let go, but some of those layoffs have already occurred. It's unclear how many remain on the Wyeth side.

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21. Lee Howard on November 10, 2009 9:44 AM writes...

Forgot to post the link to the previous comment. Here it is:

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22. MTL on November 11, 2009 10:23 AM writes...

Not mentioned in company press releases, but Pfizer is also laying off Wyeth employees in Montreal. Closing Chem Dev, but keeping Clinical Supplies and analytical support.

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23. Tammy Anderson on December 25, 2009 4:54 PM writes...

I am working on several high level pharmaceutical R&D positions in China. If you speak Mandarin and have a good background in Pharma Process R&D or Analytical/Quality/Formulation R&D, please contact me. Thanks!

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