As the big drugmaker grapples with its big slowdown, the board and top management are exploring a number of interesting ways to jumpstart business, according to sources. The moves may involve laying off still more employees - a large number of reps, for instance; plans to sell off some of the R&D units that arebeing eliminated and possibly purchasing a brand-name biotech, our sources tell us.
How Pfizer may actually peddle units that focus on heart disease, gastrointestinal illnesses and obesity, for instance, remains to be seen, but presumably other drugmakers may be approached about a purchase or venture. The effort could include offering both intellectual property and staff, sources say. This leaves the fate of some facilities at R&D headquarters in Groton, Connecticut, up in the air.
As a sign that more job cuts are coming, sources say Pfizer recently extended its severance package program, which was due to expire on
September 30, until December 31, until mid-2009, because the drugmaker couldn’t defend treating the new round of layoffs differently from previous rounds. A Pfizer spokesman tells us "various pre-announced initiatives across the entire company...will continue into 2009."
Meanwhile, Pfizer brass continue to explore possible acquisitions as they refocus the company. Whether this would include revisiting a bid for Biogen remains unclear, although one source suggests the possibility has been discussed. You may recall, Pfizer eyed Biogen last year, but the notion was squelched over disagreements about integrating the biotech into the Pfizer fold, among other things.
A Pfizer spokesman declined to comment on what he termed "speculation," other than to say "we'll continue to realign the company to better serve our customers."