Is the tale of Exubera — an inhalable form of insulin that Pfizer launched in 2006 and withdrew in 2007 after poor sales — a bellwhether for Big Pharma?
“It taught me that the organization lacked accountability and the willingness to make hard decisions,” Jeff Kindler, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said in a recent address to students as part of the Silfen Leadership Series. “But we have made a lot of changes over the last two years and we’re dramatically different now. That’s why we are able to do the Wyeth deal.” (See post, “A Perspective on the Pfizer-Wyeth Merger.”)
In an hour-long lecture, Kindler, who came to Pfizer in 2002 from the McDonald’s Corporation and who has been in the company’s top post since 2006, discussed how Pfizer is changing its strategy to confront impending patent expirations and other value chain challenges, such as the company’s declining stock price and public opinion of leadership. He also discussed the company’s integration with Wyeth.
“Every element of the value chain had been severely challenged, and many people think the Big Pharma model is irreparably damaged,” he said. However, Kindler said that January’s merger with Wyeth represents a “terrific diversification” and a “big change in the blockbuster business model.”
Kindler said Pfizer is focused on six strategies: investing and focusing in areas of unmet need such as Alzheimer’s, oncology and inflammation; becoming a leader in biotherapeutics; having a larger presence in the area of vaccines; taking advantage of its position in developing markets where there is large unmet need; establishing more generic products; and strengthening other areas, such as animal health products.
“[The Wyeth acquisition] puts us in a position to advance every one of these strategies. When we’re complete, we will be extraordinarily diversified and able to operate across the whole health spectrum,” Kindler said.
Photo courtesy of Columbia Business School