Six months ago, Roberto Solari talked eagerly about his research into the mechanisms that govern asthma. Now he must let someone else finish the job.
Solari, who until last month headed one of GlaxoSmithKline Plc (SAN)’s targeted research units, is one of the casualties of the company’s new approach to drug discovery. Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty turned up the dial on an overhaul initiated by his predecessor after he took over in 2008, dividing six disease-focused research centers into smaller teams known as Discovery Performance Units. The teams, or DPUs, compete for funds bestowed every three years after a review. Those that fail to meet their targets may get disbanded.
Solari, an unassuming 55-year-old scientist of Italian origin, is still working at the company and no longer heads the team, Morgan said. She declined to comment on the reasons for the change. So did Solari.So what could possibly happen when you divide your company into little units that might have to compete for resources to keep their positions? Well, they compete for resources!:
Glaxo has been hunting for ways to encourage teams to cooperate, according to Vallance. One example, he says, is to give credit for inventing a molecule that gets picked up by another one of the company’s 38 DPUs.
“We need to keep working on that because I think 38 silos is a disaster,” he said in a May 13 interview. “It’s not what we got, it’s not what I want. It’s not a sort of bear pit with everyone fighting each other.”I cannot imagine the infighting that's resulting from this. I might note that the higher management seems to think that this is a good way of growing and picking good leaders of scientists. I'm a little skeptical. (Also, what's the likelihood that the executives will be facing a similar judgment?)