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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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May 25, 2011

Pfizer's Layoff Dance

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Posted by Derek

What on earth is happening over in Pfizer's cardiovascular department? CVMED, as it's called there, went through a nasty round of cuts in April, with many layoffs and many transfers to the Boston site. Now I'm hearing that so few people have accepted those transfers that the company has changed course and said that these people now are still going to work in Groton, which is news to the ones who have their houses on the market. . .

This sort of thing has happened before with Pfizer - I'm thinking of the people who moved to Connecticut from Michigan a few years ago, some of whom were then laid off what, six months later? But if anyone has details on this latest mess, tell us in the comments. (I've also heard that there's more layoff news there this week - details there are welcome, too).

Comments (29) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Pfired on May 25, 2011 7:47 AM writes...

There was more layoffs yesterday. These were chemists. The ones in April were biology. What a mess indeed.

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2. AlchemistOrganique on May 25, 2011 7:49 AM writes...

We are the Pfi-Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

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3. You're Pfizered on May 25, 2011 8:13 AM writes...

A friend did the Ann Arbor to Groton to unemployment dance a few years ago. Took quite a long time to finally sell the house in CT.

Asking people relocate is one thing, but in this housing market, if you're not helping them sell their houses, I would understand a lot of folks not wanting to move to Boston where the cost of living is even higher. Given the rate of job cuts at Pfizer, might be best to rent anyway.

What a mess.

They should just build more buildings at WuXi. It's where a large percentage of Pfizer's research is being done now anyway...

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4. Gandalf th Chemist on May 25, 2011 8:16 AM writes...

Careful, Vertex. Try not to be too successful in Hep C. Otherwise the Eye of Sauron may set itself upon your shiny new headquarters.

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5. Sauron on May 25, 2011 8:36 AM writes...

Vertex, my precioussssssssssssssssssssss

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6. Derek (not Lowe!) on May 25, 2011 10:31 AM writes...

Looks like Pfizer is reviving the old Roche approach to relocations. If memory serves me right when Roche closed down Syntex in Canada they relocated a bunch of folks to California only to let them go 6 months later

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7. drug_hunter on May 25, 2011 11:48 AM writes...

Regarding #4 and #5 we can only hope to dispel the evil curse with bright light. Gilthoniel a elbereth!

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8. Mark on May 25, 2011 12:12 PM writes...

Apparently the antibacterial group was also culled yesterday as well. Pfizer has a research career ladder going from R1-R9 (R4 is for a new PhD).

- Most of the chemists cut were R1 and R2
- Not many R3 or R4 chemists were cut (with or without a PhD at R4)
- No managers lost their jobs, in fact a few got promoted!


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9. Jon on May 25, 2011 12:34 PM writes...

Regarding #7, I think the next time I see upper management headed my way I'll try to write or burn Elbereth into the floor and hope that that class of monster respects Elbereth.

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10. smurf on May 25, 2011 1:30 PM writes...

It does not really matter anymore, they already lost most of the good people.

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11. random chemist on May 25, 2011 2:56 PM writes...

Kindler = Saruman? Vertex = Minas Tirith? Derek Lowe = Aragorn? (He's already got the beard!)

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12. facehiker on May 25, 2011 3:10 PM writes...

all this chemist lord of the rings talk is downright kekulean. which reminds me...does anyone know where to purchase earrings with an outer dangly hexagon and an internal circle? unemployed chemists need to upgrade their glamour.

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13. Jon on May 25, 2011 3:27 PM writes...

If those earrings are not available already on Etsy, I think they could soon be.

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14. Dr. Manhattan on May 25, 2011 5:09 PM writes...

"Apparently the antibacterial group was also culled yesterday as well." No, that was announced a few months back. They are in the midst of their exit right now. The Pfizer back story is that the antibacterial group will eventually be "reconstituted" (just add water) in Shanghai, China. If you believe that, I've got some now virtually worthless property in East Lyme, CT. to sell you...

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15. Anonymous on May 25, 2011 7:30 PM writes...

8. Mark

The lower class chemists cut out of the mix, so the upper echelons can lead the outsourced army. Good luck with that Cluster F.

Virtual pharma FTW baby!

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16. Thoryke on May 25, 2011 8:31 PM writes...

@#8: What an interesting definition of "win"...

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17. Anonymous on May 25, 2011 11:28 PM writes...

people come, people go, the company still there...

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18. Heather on May 26, 2011 5:51 AM writes...

@Jon (#12) and Facehiker (#13) Do you want metal, or the somehow more appropriate polymer clay? :-)

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19. john adams on May 26, 2011 6:24 AM writes...

Would someone be so kind as to answer Derek's original questions? Thanks.

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20. ex MRK on May 26, 2011 7:29 AM writes...

The explanation for all this is simple:

These people have no idea what the hell they're doing.

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21. Ralph Malph on May 26, 2011 11:12 AM writes...

My understanding, speaking with a Chemist yesterday was that Chemistry was blasted yesterday and many of them will start exiting next week. She said that she was not aware of any R1 or R2 still employed in that part of the business.

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22. ex SCHMRK on May 26, 2011 11:36 AM writes...

they did offer buying houses in CT for people to be reloed to MA... of course in this market, a buyout is not a good idea either! the catch is that you have to stay with pfe for two years or you pay back... a great deal, obviously...

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23. CR on May 26, 2011 3:09 PM writes...


Actually the buyout is a great deal in this market. Stay with Pfizer for 2 years or you have to pay it back isn't unheard of - and that would not include involuntary separation (ie, the trasferee gets laid off 1 year later). Having to move without any buyout (or loss coverage) would be brutal right now.

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24. ex SCHMRK on May 26, 2011 9:37 PM writes...

@CR strongly disagree. A buyout in this market means they will offer a very low ball price for your house and, on top of that, they will require you make all type of repairs and put a lot of extra $$$ before they buy it. Asking you to get a new roof in this market isn't unheard of, even if it is only 10 years old. Plus, you get to stay with pfe for two years? Sign me up, captain!

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25. GSK-free on May 27, 2011 2:45 AM writes...

Did Pfizer offer to help with housing in the UK with the sandwich closure ?

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26. Maria on May 28, 2011 3:56 PM writes...

What do you think about Pfizer's agreements with Icon and Paraxel for conducting clinical trials? More layoffs?

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27. exmedchem on May 30, 2011 6:08 PM writes...

is Pfizer covering loss of equity for relocation?

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28. realtor on June 15, 2011 7:40 PM writes...

With Pfizer layoffs, the "Pfizer town" East Lyme real estate will crash. It is at least 20% down y-o-y. So far, 15% has reached.

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