Pfizer Cuts 150 Jobs From R&D Program

Pfizer is starting out 2019 by tearing up its intermediate-stage and preclinical research and development operations focused on biosimilar drugs, which will cut off hundreds of employees who were engaged in the development program.

This is the second year in a row Pfizer has taken out its budget axe. In 2018, the firm terminated its neurosciences division, discarding new drugs and laying off about 300 workers in Andover, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Pfizer has decided to cut off 150 workers at two of its sites in Chennai (India) and Lake Forest (Illinois, US) through phasing out five of its preclinical biosimilar developments. This will allow Pfizer to redirect the development’s funding to its growing late-stage programs across the firm’s other significant therapeutic areas of research.

The resolution was made after an annual Research and Development investment review, which chose to drop the biosimilar candidates.

According to Pfizer’s spokesperson, Thomas Biegi, the preclinical biosimilar assets were, after all, four to eight years from being made available to patients through commercialization.

“This choice will support Pfizer’s ability to better assign its resources to cutting edge late-stage programs in ailments where patients have only a few or no treatment options, such as oncology, neurological drugs, or rare diseases,” Thomas told BioProcess International.

He further emphasized that this reduction of its pipeline does not imply Pfizer’s general commitment to biosimilars changes.

While the company’s decision will see around 150 Pfizer workers within the R&D sector lose their jobs, on the bright side, it is expected to dismiss most of these individuals through early retirement and voluntary layoffs through the end of 2018 and into early 2019.

Furthermore, both R&D groups affected by this cut were inherited during the 2015, $15 billion buyout of Hospira. In fact, this acquisition is what put Pfizer in the biosimilars business.

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