Drug maker Wyeth now called Pfizer

    The two companies officially merged today. About 15 percent of the staff will be laid off, and several facilities will close.

    The drug companies Pfizer and Wyeth officially merged today. The new company will lay off about 15 percent of its staff, and there’s mixed news for employees in Pennsylvania.

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    Wyeth’s facility in Collegeville will remain open as Pfizer’s new specialty medicine unit. The group will focus on vaccines, infectious diseases, neuroscience research, and other areas.

    Geno Germano worked at Wyeth for 25 years, and is now head of the new unit. He says employees in Collegeville are relieved that their facility will remain open.

    Germano: It’s probably too early to tell exactly what the number of jobs are and there will be some movement. Some people who are here may move to other locations in the Pfizer organization and of course Pfizer colleagues from other locations may likely move here.

    He says some staff will be shifted to the Collegeville campus.

    Germano: We will consolidate other facilities in the area smaller ones into this larger Collegeville facility. But for many people in the area this means that they will be able to continue to work in the new organization and not need to transfer to another site.

    Those smaller facilities being shut down include Greater Valley in Chester County, where about 900 people worked. Several thousand employees work at the facility in Collegeville, but there’s no guarantee all will stay.

    The long term future of the new company looks promising, but large mergers have a poor history of success, says Les Funtleyder. He’s a healthcare strategist at investment firm Miller Tabak.

    Funtleyder: The new management is going to take advantage of now a much larger R and D organization. It is a tricky business merging cultures, especially in innovative cultures like R and D. So we’d like to see some evidence it’s succeeding.

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