Nature: When the party’s over (for Pfizer)
Excerpts from Nature article "When the party’s over" today:
The world’s largest drug company starts 2007 in need of a fresh start. Most of all, Pfizer has to put aside the end of 2006, when it was forced to pull the plug on its eagerly anticipated cholesterol-lowering drug torcetrapib. The compound was found to be associated with unacceptably high death rates in a late-stage clinical trial involving 15,000 people (see Nature 444, 794–795; 2006) . . .
In this environment the company’s 13,000 researchers are entitled to worry about their future. “There appears to be a pattern to right-sizing the organization, that probably implies either trimming research and development or, at least, investigating whether it should be trimmed,” says Tony Butler, a pharmaceuticals analyst with Lehman Brothers in New York.
Peter Rost, a company gadfly and former Pfizer marketing vice-president,now in litigation with the firm over the circumstances of his departure in 2005, is more direct. “It’s very likely that Pfizer is going to pull back on personnel in all areas, including research,”he says. Rost’s blog, http://peterrost.blogspot.com, has been abuzz with chat on the circumstances and implications of the trial failure . . .
“Pfizer was one of the few remaining companies that appeared to be able to manage the mega-blockbuster drugs,” explains Kenneth Kaitin, the director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development in Medford, Massachusetts.
Pfizer is no more that company, apparently.