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Pfizer Moving Antibacterial R&D From US To Shanghai

 March 16, 2011 02:49 PM

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) will close its R&D facility in Groton, Connecticut and move its antibacterials research operations to Shanghai. Although all major multinationals are doing research in China, it is highly unusual for a big pharma to move an entire lab there.

The switch will be gradual, according to Pfizer. Some researchers will remain at their present facility for up to two years, seeing their projects through to completion and also allowing Pfizer time to complete construction on its Shanghai lab. Pfizer's antibacterial operation is developing antibiotics to counteract superbugs such as MRSA that are resistant to commonly available treatments.

Besides the cost advantage of doing drug research in China and the talent available there, ex-Pfizer executives commented that a Shanghai facility helps gain favor with the SFDA, which comes in handy when a company like Pfizer seeks China approval for its drugs.

Pfizer had previously announced it would close the Groton lab. In 2009, the company indicated it would close six of its twenty R&D global facilities as it rationalized its operations and cut costs. At the same time, the company was bulking up its Shanghai R&D operation. Pfizer opened its Shanghai R&D Center in 2005 and has been steadily been adding staff since then.
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