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Pfizer Pares, Refocuses Research After Wyeth Buy

From Associated Press (January 27, 2010)

TRENTON, N.J.--Drugmaker Pfizer Inc., which just bought rival Wyeth in October, said Wednesday it will scrap testing of roughly 100 experimental drugs from their combined research operations to focus more resources on its priority areas.

Pfizer said it will continue with about 500 research projects. About 70 percent of those -- and 75 percent of its late-stage research -- fall within those priority areas.

The New York-based company said its six priorities are research in Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, pain, cancer, inflammation and schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Pfizer calls them "Invest to Win" areas because of the great need for better treatments.

Of the 500 drugs, 133 are in various stages of human testing, including a few awaiting approval by government regulators.

The 500-drug research portfolio includes 30 drugs in testing for cancer, 10 for Alzheimer’s disease, eight for pain and 11 for inflammation. Altogether, 34 drugs that are either new chemical compounds or existing drugs being tested for new uses are in final-stage human testing.

Pfizer also is pouring significant money into research on vaccines and biologic drugs, which are produced in living cells. Less than a year ago, Pfizer had only one vaccine and 16 biologic drugs in testing; now it has a total of six vaccines and 27 biologic drugs in development.

One of the reasons that Pfizer paid $68 billion to buy Wyeth was to acquire its expertise in vaccines and biotech drugs. Pfizer has said it is aiming to become a top-tier maker of those medicines by 2015.

Posted: January 2010