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How Big Pharma is Tackling the R&D Problem

Executive Summary

All Big Pharma agree that the R&D crisis exists, but their approaches to dealing with it vary.

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Pfizer's Increasingly Specialist Focus

Pfizer's brand-new oncology business unit appears to be the linchpin in its transformation from primary care behemoth to specialty powerhouse. The Big Pharma also followed this up with the announcement that it was cutting early-stage R&D programs focused on obesity, bone health, and what has been its mainstay--cardiovascular disease. Together, these moves should be viewed as the most extreme example of the industry's flight from primary care medicine into the safer haven of specialty-focused pharmaceuticals,

Pfizer's Increasingly Specialist Focus

Pfizer's brand-new oncology business unit appears to be the linchpin in its transformation from primary care behemoth to specialty powerhouse. The Big Pharma also followed this up with the announcement that it was cutting early-stage R&D programs focused on obesity, bone health, and what has been its mainstay--cardiovascular disease. Together, these moves should be viewed as the most extreme example of the industry's flight from primary care medicine into the safer haven of specialty-focused pharmaceuticals,

Why Wyeth's Talking Up Vaccines

Given the near-term generic threats to over a third of its US drug revenues and two late-stage set-backs last year, Wyeth's vaccines business--basically the $3 billion-and-growing pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar--matters more than ever before. So, then, does eliminating an imminent competitive threat from GlaxoSmithKline, and a swift switch to follow-on Prevnar 13 in 2010. Indeed, vaccine chiefs at the other four big players-Sanofi-Aventis, Merck & Co. Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC, and Novartis AG-are likely to become more prominent, too. Vaccines may still account for only a small minority of revenues at these Big Pharma, but most saw far healthier growth in their vaccines business in 2007 than in therapeutics. That's why Sanofi, according to recent media reports, is out looking for vaccine acquisitions.

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