Business your connection to The Boston Globe

Pfizer to cut workforce, R&D budget

10,000 layoffs part of plan to save $2b

Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drug maker, might tell investors this month it will trim annual spending by as much as $2 billion by firing 10 percent of its workforce and cutting the research budget.

Pfizer might disclose the reductions in its $7 billion research budget and a workforce of about 100,000 at a Jan. 22 analyst meeting, said Deutsche Bank analyst Barbara Ryan. Pfizer chief executive Jeffrey Kindler said in October he would seek to go beyond a plan to trim $4 billion in yearly spending by 2008.

Pfizer needs to reduce costs as it braces to lose sales by 2012 from medicines losing patent protection that account for nearly half its 2005 revenue. New York-based Pfizer was counting on replacing sales of its top-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor, which goes off patent as early as 2010, with a new therapy called torcetrapib. The company halted development on that product in December because of safety concerns.

A Pfizer spokesman said the company will detail plans at the analysts meeting, but declined to comment on what the cuts may include.

Kindler cut 20 percent of the sales force, or 2,200 jobs, in December. The company had fired more than 5,325 employees, mainly in manufacturing, sales, and research, as of Oct. 1, the company said in a November filing.