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Pfizer Announces post-Wyeth Deal Organization Plan

Tue, 04/07/2009 - 5:23am
NEW YORK (AP) — Pfizer Inc. said Tuesday it will form two main research units after completing the buyout of Wyeth, focusing on traditional pharmaceuticals and cutting-edge biotechnology drugs. Pfizer will also keep several key executives from Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth as part of its increased focus on the field of biotechnology, which uses living cells to make treatments for a wide range of conditions, including cancer. "Creating two distinct, but complementary, research organizations, led by the top scientist from each company, will provide sharper focus, less bureaucracy and clearer accountability in drug discovery," Pfizer Chief Executive Jeff Kindler said in a statement. The company's planned PharmaTherapeutics Research Group will be headed by Martin Mackay, the current leader of Pfizer's global research and development unit. The current president of Wyeth research, Mikael Dolsten, will head the biotechnology unit. Meanwhile, Pfizer said it will keep eight senior Wyeth executives including Emilio Emini, who will head vaccine research, and Menelas Pangalos, who will head neuroscience. Kindler will be CEO of the combined company. Pfizer did not say whether Wyeth CEO Bernard Poussot would have a role after the deal closes. "He is an instrumental part of our integration efforts and will continue to provide us with critical counsel and support until the close of the acquisition," Kindler said. Pfizer currently makes blockbuster drugs including the impotence treatment Viagra, antidepressant Zoloft and pain relievers Celebrex and Lyrica. Its expansion into biotechnology is part of a trend across the industry as large pharmaceutical companies face patent losses and generic competition on key revenue drivers. Pfizer's cholesterol drug Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug, now provides just over one-quarter of all company revenue with nearly $13 billion in annual sales. Sales are expected to plummet when the that drug loses patent protection in November 2011. By purchasing Wyeth, the company can add new programs and moneymaking products, while cutting costs. Wyeth blockbusters include the antidepressant Effexor and children's vaccine Prevnar. The $68 billion cash, stock and debt deal, made on Jan. 26, is still pending. The deal's total value, though, is actually less than the original offer because the value of Pfizer shares has fallen since the offer was made. The combined company will have nine businesses, including the biotech business, primary care, and consumer health. The deal is expected to close during the third or fourth quarter.
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