Boston Business Journal staff report
Pfizer Inc. has announced it will restructure its research and development operation in an effort to save up to $2 billion, and there will be a significant impact to Massachusetts, where the pharmaceutical giant has three facilities - two in Cambridge, Mass., and one in Andover, Mass.
The company plans to relocate its cardiovascular and neuroscience units to a new facility in Cambridge or Boston, from its current hub in Groton, Conn. The company will also exit one of its Cambridge facilities, on Memorial Drive. The company plans to maintain both manufacturing and research and development capabilities in Andover.
In an e-mail to the Boston Business Journal, Pfizer spokeswoman Sperry Mylott wrote, “As part of our new R&D strategy, we intend to shift the global footprint of our R&D network to more fully align with key hubs for science and technology. This will include an expansion of our R&D network in Cambridge, MA.”
Mylott said the transition will take place over the next 18 to 24 months and company officials are negotiating the location of the new site.
“We are committed to treating all colleagues with the utmost respect throughout this process, and to making sure that everyone is informed in an honest, thoughtful and prompt way,” Mylott wrote.
Pfizer said it could create up to 300 new jobs in the state, however it is unclear how many jobs would be lost at the closing Cambridge site.
“Once again, this demonstrates that even when companies are shedding jobs elsewhere, they consider Massachusetts to be an important place to be strategically, and are maintaining or even increasing their presence here. We look forward to working with Pfizer to facilitate their expansion in Cambridge. We will also work with the company to ensure that any workers that are displaced in this transition are provided with appropriate resources to find new employment,” Susan Windham-Bannister, CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, said in a statement.
Pfizer currently employs approximately 2300 workers across its three sites.
Some workers will be moved to the new site from Conn, and additional new jobs will be created. However, there will be layoffs in conjunction with the closure of the Memorial Drive site, since Pfizer plans to exit some therapeutic areas, including regenerative medicine, which were the focus of that site.
Pfizer’s cost-cutting comes as the company approaches a so-called “patent cliff”. Some of its most lucrative medications, including Lipitor and Viagra, will soon be opened up to generic competition. The company said Tuesday that sales of Lipitor declined 17 percent in the fourth quarter to $2.63 billion. Sales will decline by more than half next year after generics enter the market in November, company executives said.
Some functions will remain in Groton, including drug safety and toxicology testing.Read more: Pfizer cuts mean growth, closure in Mass. | Boston Business Journal