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Pfizer Slashes R&D Funding, Closes U.K. Research Site

Closed sign (Artaxerxes, Wikimedia Commons)Pfizer Inc. in New York said today it plans to cut its research and development spending to keep R&D costs in line with lower expected revenues in 2012. The reductions, which Pfizer calls “significant,” include closing its research facility in Sandwich, U.K. and consolidating research operations in the northeast U.S.

The company has lowered its revenue forecast by $2.2 billion for 2012, to $63 billion, and expects its R&D expenses to range between $6.5 and $7.0 billion that year, down from $8.0 to $8.5 billion. “Driving this decline,” says a Pfizer announcement, “is the planned reduction in the number of disease areas the Company will focus on based upon where the greatest medical and commercial impact can be achieved as well as a realigned R&D footprint.”

That footprint includes closing its research center in Sandwich, U.K., which Pfizer says was already planned. Ian Read, Pfizer’s CEO, tells Bloomberg that the research underway in Sandwich will either be halted or contracted out.

Pfizer’s announcement offers a mix of good and bad news for employees in New England. The Hartford Courant reports Pfizer will cut 1,100 employees from its Groton research facility, reducing the workforce there to 3.300 employees. Mackay Jimeson, a Pfizer spokesman, tells the Courant that for those affected by the layoffs, there may be job openings at other Pfizer locations.

The Boston Herald, however, reports the number of jobs for Pfizer’s Groton staff may be limited. The Herald says Pfizer is moving its Neurosciences and Cardiovascular Metabolic/Endocrine Diseases research divisions to Cambridge, Massachusetts from Groton. But Pfizer spokeswoman Anne Wilson tells the Herald the company plans to fill the positions it transfers to Cambridge mainly with new local hires, rather than relocating existing staffers from Groton.

While Pfizer’s corporate restructuring will mean a net gain of 350 jobs in Cambridge, the company also plans to cut jobs from its Cambridge roster. The Herald reports moving the functions now in Groton to Cambridge will mean adding 450 positions, but Pfizer plans to close its stem cell research operations in Cambridge, cutting 100 jobs in the process.

Read more: Merck to Cut Workforce, Close Research and Manufacturing Sites

Photo: Artaxerxes/Wikimedia Commons

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