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A reader who's (unfortunately) in a position to know the details sends along some numbers on Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) chemistry shakeout. According to his figures, Pfizer (pre-Wyeth merger) had about 900 chemists. The Wyeth deal brought in about 350, but no one expected the merged department to stay at 1250 - instead, the guess was that the new chemistry staff would be in the 1000 range, which is what I would have guessed, too.

But the chemistry head count is now apparently headed to about 850: smaller than it was before the merger. I have to assume that outsourced chemistry isn't included in this total, and that that's where the deficit is being made up. It is being made up, right? Pfizer isn't actually trying to become a bigger company with a smaller research staff - right? Posters and coffee mugs about working smarter and doing more with less can only take you so far, you know.

As I say, these are numbers from the inside, and I'll be glad to listen to (and post) corrections to them. But from what I'm hearing, this is accurate - and no one (especially at Wyeth) saw this coming on as hard as it has...

Source: Pfizer's Chemistry Head Count: Lower than Before the Wyeth Merger