North Penn, PA
By: Bradley Schlegel
UPPER GWYNEDD — Merck & Co. Inc.’s acquisition of Schering-Plough will enhance its women’s health and respiratory drug categories.
That’s according to Merck spokeswoman Connie Wickersham.
But the $41 billion acquisition — announced March 3, 2009 — also called for a 15 percent employee reduction throughout the world, according to Wickersham.
She said no decisions regarding job cuts in Upper Gwynedd have been announced.
Merck is far from the only pharmaceutical company facing major challenges and changes.
Earlier in January, Pfizer Inc. announced it will lay off 680 workers at two former Wyeth facilities.
Effective March 12, the New York pharmaceutical company — which acquired Wyeth for $68 billion last year — intends to eliminate 450 jobs at the former site of Wyeth’s pharmaceutical headquarters in Collegeville.
Pfizer is shutting down its Great Valley site in Chester County, where another 230 jobs will be eliminated.
For Merck, meanwhile, the Upper Gwynedd facilities — which include the company’s research laboratories — will remain as U.S. headquarters for the Global Human Health division, according to Wickersham.
Township Manager Len Perrone said that any local job loss would weaken the township’s tax base.
“Based on every indication we have from Merck, we should expect job growth,” Perrone said.
Merck’s drug portfolio features a pipeline with more than 15 promising late-stage candidates in critical therapeutic categories, Wickersham said.
tility and provide anesthesia — are under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
She said the asthma drug under review will accompany Singulair, a prescription medicine used to help control symptoms of asthma in adults and children.
Merck’s combined pipeline includes drugs for a variety of ailments — including cancer, diabetes, alcohol dependence, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, Parkinson’s disease, hot flashes and insomnia — at various levels of clinical trials, according to Wickersham.
“Thanks to the talent and dedication of scientists at both companies, the combined company offers an outstanding clinical development pipeline that will greatly increase our ability to deliver important new medicines to patients,” Dick Clark — Merck’s president, chairman and CEO — said in November.
Earlier this month, Clark said the newly formed company is expected to generate $6 billion in total synergy savings after 2011.
Estimates following completion of the Nov. 4 acquisition called for incremental cost savings of approximately $3.5 billion beyond 2011, according to Wickersham.
On Jan. 6 — at the Goldman Sachs CEO Unplugged Conference, in his first public comments since the completion of the transaction — Clark said the implementation of a “world-class picture of an organization in the last four or five years … that may be one of the best in any industry, not just ours,” has helped ease the transition.
He described the discussion and enthusiasm regarding Merck’s late-stage pipeline and how technology and methodology are being shared, as incredible.
“The franchises are so complimentary,” Clark said, according to the transcripts posted on Merck’s Web site. “That one plus one, everyone hopes equals three. I think it’s going to equal more than that. I think this is going to be a good case study when it’s done.”
Comment from Leslie
Merck is coming out with this ovary stimulation drug – because so many Gardasil girls are having problems with their menstrual cycle to the HPV vaccine. This smells like a rotten fish. Complicity. Merck is well aware that their vaccine would cause endocrine problems in women. The studies between heavy metals as an endocrine disrupters are there. Women should be outraged.