Maintaining Research Continuity during Mergers and Acquisitions

Biotech pic In the wake of the recent merger proposal that Pfizer, Inc., submitted to AstraZeneca PLC, experts have weighed in on how massive pharmaceutical mergers can affect ongoing research and development. These critics point out that when large companies combine, research and development teams often experience detrimental personnel reductions. They argue that some of the most successful biotechnology start-ups have placed significant emphasis on keeping research teams intact even when they are bought out by larger companies. This is especially important given that many of today’s most innovative drugs require knowledge of an increasingly discrete set of novel biological targets.

Interestingly, most successful biotech companies end up discovering drugs that treat illnesses other than those they initially set out to treat. For example, although Genentech launched with the aim of developing drugs for heart disease, the company’s scientists ultimately produced pioneering new cancer drugs. Team continuity is crucial to these sorts of innovations, and large pharmaceutical companies can certainly learn from the lessons offered by biotech start-ups, especially when large mergers are on the table.

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