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I've heard from more than one source that Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) has laid off a large number of research staff this week in Groton. This seems to have taken people by surprise in many cases, since the expectation was just that everyone would find out where they were on the new organization charts. Well, in a way, they did.

As mentioned in a comment to this post, the company seems to want to get more people out in the lab. They're aiming for a 4:1 ratio of associates to PhDs in chemistry, where the cuts seem to have been deeper. That would (to my knowledge) probably be the highest average ratio in the industry. Pfizer seems to be approaching this through both the numerator and the denominator: I've heard of associate-level chemists who had CVs in with the company getting recent messages about some planned hiring.

But for now, there are more researchers (chemistry and biology) out of work. The Northeast, I have to say, is getting rather saturated with drug industry job-seekers. The region is still processing my own site's closure, so I have a great deal of sympathy with the Pfizer folks who are being turned out now.

Exubera: This Time With Feeling

Looks like my doubts about the potential of Pfizer's inhaled insulin Exubera were well-founded. Pfizer's having some trouble making headway, and have announced a re-launch of the product. Needless to say, you don't re-launch products that are performing up to expectation.

When I wrote about the product a year or so ago, various dissenting comments on that post used phrases like "grand slam", "smash hit", and the ever-popular "blockbuster". It hasn't happened, though, and odds are lengthening that it ever will.

Source: Pfizer: Research Staff Layoffs and Exubera Relaunch