Just shy of a month since the closing of the $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth, Pfizer has announced a major restructuring of its research operations which will see the closure of six facilities.

The New York-based giant says it will move a number of functions from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, Pearl River, New York and St Louis to other locations and will discontinue R&D operations in Princeton, New Jersey, Chazy, Rouses Point and Plattsburgh, New York, Sanford and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and Gosport, Slough/Taplow in the UK. In addition, Pfizer will consolidate R&D functions from its New London, Connecticut site to a nearby research facility in Groton.

As a result of these changes, Pfizer’s R&D activities will now be conducted at five main sites and nine specialised units compared with 20 R&D plants upon closing the Wyeth acquisition. The five “will serve as central hubs for research activities in biotherapeutics, pharmatherapeutics and vaccines, the company added.

The facilities at the heart of Pfizer R&D will be in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Groton and Pearl River sites, La Jolla, California and Sandwich, UK. These will be supplemented by “specialised research capabilities”, Pfizer added, such as monoclonal antibody discovery in San Francisco, regenerative medicine work in Cambridge, UK and R&D activities in Shanghai, China.

Martin Mackay, president of the new pharmatherapeutics R&D division, said that “in less than a month, we have made complex business decisions” needed to combine Pfizer and Wyeth’s research organisations “thoughtfully yet quickly”. He added that “moving forward on our aggressive timeline, we are analysing the combined portfolio and prioritising research projects”.

Pfizer noted that “while these changes are expected to bolster productivity and reduce costs, they will result in staff reductions”. No specific figures were disclosed in terms of overall job losses but when the Wyeth deal was first announced, it was stated that the combined workforce would be reduced by 15% or some 19,500 jobs.

Plant sold to Monsanto
Pfizer added that it is selling the Chesterfield Village Research Center in the St Louis area for $435 million to Monsanto, which owned the facility until 2002. Pfizer will lease space in the facility for biotherapeutic research.