Pfizer CEO Ian Read, in the Wall Street Journal about his moves with Pfizer research sites:
WSJ: Cutting costs is also part of your growth strategy. You're shutting down Pfizer's laboratory in Sandwich, U.K. Was it inefficient?
Mr. Read: Sandwich was working in areas where I don't think we were competitive enough. It was in areas of allergy and respiratory and urology, and other areas where I didn't think we had the science, or the competition was ahead of us. And it was better to redirect those resources.
WSJ: You're also moving scientists from Pfizer's long-time research and development center, in Groton, Conn., up to Cambridge, Mass. Why?
Mr. Read: Historically, Big Pharma was driven by manufacturing, and very often they put manufacturing sites up on rivers because there was fermentation involved and they needed access [to water]. Now, I think you need to be in centers of innovation and hubs of innovation that are represented by La Jolla, Calif; Boston, Mass; and also in the U.K. in Cambridge.Rivers? I'm really flummoxed by this answer, even though I (sort of) understand what he is getting at: Groton is where it is (historically) because of now-irrelevant geographical features. That being said, I'm afraid this sort of "we need to be there" logic isn't really historically supported. While geographical isolation isn't good, I'm unconvinced that Pfizer chemists from Groton will somehow be magically more productive or innovative in Boston. Color me unconvinced.