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May 5, 2014
Pfizer/AstraZeneca: Asymmetric Cuts Look Likely
So Pfizer is out today with some pretty bad financials, which are doubtless one reason for their determination to Go Out and Buy Somebody, whether they're an R&D powerhouse or not. They've also been reassuring the British government that they'll go ahead with the Cambridge research construction that AstraZeneca has begun, and that in general, they'll keep at least 20% of the R&D workforce in the country.
Problem is, if you look at those numbers, it means that someone is going to have to go, and these promises would tend to force the cuts more to this side of the Atlantic. Reuters has a detailed look at the issue, and it isn't fun reading:
John LaMattina, Pfizer's research chief from 2004 to 2007 and currently a senior partner at PureTech Ventures in Boston, agreed that the La Jolla cancer research jobs as well as neuroscience researchers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, were likely in jeopardy. He said Pfizer could also fold its U.S.-based immunology and respiratory research into existing AstraZeneca operations in Britain.
"If I was in any of these places, I'd worry about this deal going through," said LaMattina, , ,
. . .With Pfizer's promise to protect the UK research, jobs at AstraZeneca's oncology and neuroscience research centers near Boston and its MedImmune cancer research and development operation in Gaithersburg, Maryland, could also come under the cost-cutting knife.
It's just much easier to unload employees in the US than it is in most of Europe. And since the whole point of this proposed deal is to remake Pfizer in a more favorable British tax environment, the incentives are unfortunately quite strong to do just that.
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