With this grand gesture, Pfizer tries to signal a few different things at once - a degree of consistency within the struggling R&D operation (remember last year's Torcetrapib debacle?); the moxy to woo top talent from rivals, and the ability and, most of all, a willingness to commit resources to develop a biotech business that will focus on deals and discovery. In other words, ceo Jeff Kindler is telling Wall Street he's willing not only to buy products, but the brains to help him find what he needs. Along with Mackay, Goodman will report directly to Kindler.
The new biotech center will be based in the San Francisco Bay area, where Goodman is still on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley. In a Pfizer statement, he say the center will be built on a "new model," which will be "independent, able to pursue its own research interests, free to establish its own distinct culture, and empowered to recruit entrepreneurial scientists." At the same time, the center will find ways to work closely with Mackay's R&D operation, which is based in Groton, Ct.