Pfizer Cuts Back - But Is It Slimming Down for ImClone?

Includes: GSK, IMCL, PFE
by: Derek Lowe

Today brings the news of which areas Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) has decided to bail out of: obesity, most cardiovascular (it seems), anemia, osteoporosis and some osteoarthritis, liver disease, and muscle. They're concentrating on oncology, pain, Alzheimer's, and diabetes, which the company seems to have identified as the best intersection of their pipeline and the associated profits.

This will probably fuel speculation that the company is ImClone's (IMCL) mystery bidder - that name will supposedly be revealed at midnight on Wednesday, if I'm reading these reports correctly. If so, that makes me want to groan and roll my eyes. I'm waiting for Carl Icahn to tell everyone that they'll have to say the secret password to find out.

The news item linked to above also mentions that Pfizer has shed ten thousand employees since January of last year. Yikes. And on that subject, I hear from several sources that GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) is cutting preclinical development hard today. People seem to have known that it was coming today, and roughly how bad it would be, but today is supposedly the day that names are read off the list. Good luck to people there. The contractions continue.

There's no longer any doubt, in case anyone was wondering, that this is the worst stretch for research employment at the big pharmaceutical companies in at least 20 years (to my certain knowledge) and very likely much longer than that, from what longer-serving colleagues tell me. Frankly, I'm not sure we've ever seen anything quite like this - which makes further prediction impossible. . .