According to a Fierce Biotech piece, Merck's Roger Perlmutter, Merck's R&D chief, will eschew drastic cuts in R&D for a more surgical trimming approach. He is unlikely to strike as many big partnership deals as he did at Amgen in favor of highlighting internal programs within Merck to increase their speed to market. That doesn't mean he won't make any R&D cuts, just less sweeping cuts than seen at rivals like Pfizer or AstraZeneca in the past few years.
In addition to focusing on internal biolgoics development programs, Perlmutter said he was trying to reduce administrative layers and bureacracy. He also indicated a focus on efficacy with development programs rather than an over-emphasis on safety endpoints which lead to 'risk aversion' in his view. Perlmutter also said Merck was well-tuned in immuno-oncology and that its products directed toward PD1 are de-risked based on Merck and industry experience to date in clinicals. Merck says it has other lead candidates as well that are not PD1 based.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Sep 10th 2013.