P

fizer has unveiled more details about its proposed merger, the most eye-catching of which is a plan to split its R&D efforts into two.

The company said it will establish “a unique research model designed to advance the strong scientific capabilities of both Pfizer and Wyeth”. This will see the establishment of PharmaTherapeutics Research Group, which will focus on “the discovery of small molecules and related modalities", led by Martin Mackay, currently head of R&D at Pfizer.

The second unit, the BioTherapeutics Research Group, will be headed up by Wyeth Research president, Mikael Dolsten. Its mandate will be to create “a broad and deep pipeline in vaccines, antibodies, proteins, peptides, nucleic acids and other novel modalities”. Within the two research groups, “small, focused scientific teams” will be led by what Pfizer called “world-class chief scientific officers who will act as single points of accountability for delivering medical advances”.

At the “senior-most level of the organisation”, Pfizer will retain eight top executives from Wyeth. Among them are the latter’s head of vaccine research, Emilio Emini, who will be named CSO of vaccine research at Pfizer, and Menelas Pangalos, Wyeth's head of discovery, who will become CSO for neuroscience research.

Pfizer chief executive Jeff Kindler said that “creating two distinct, but complementary, research organisations, led by the top scientist from each company, will provide sharper focus, less bureaucracy and clearer accountability in drug discovery,” He added that this structure “powerfully states our commitment to becoming the industry leader in small molecules, large molecules and vaccines”.

Ther New York-based giant’s chief financial officer Frank D’Amelio said that “having our organisational structure in place is critical to the combined company being operational on day one, and the appointment of these leaders will accelerate our ability to do so”. He added that “we have made substantial progress in a short period of time, particularly in financing, as well as other requirements for closing. Our progress affirms how well these two companies fit together”.

The new entity will be made up of nine businesses: primary care, speciality care and vaccines, emerging markets, oncology, established products (ie generics), animal health, Capsugel (which makes capsule products), consumer health and nutritional health. The merger is expected to close by the end of the third or during the fourth quarter.