I just wrote a post wondering aloud if Merck wasn't being too much of a copycat with their R&D restructuring plan. Now here comes Bayer. It certainly is not a copycat plan. Bayer says that its "Nimbus project" spawned in 2011 will combine researchers from crop science, animal health and human health businesses.
According to outgoing R&D Chief, Wolfgang Pilschke, "we expect it to be reflected in our pipeline in the next two, three, four, five years." Nothing like pinning yourself down. He says the groups will be able to learn from each other about such fundamental things as gene switching and cellular transportation resulting in valuable products. We'll see.
It is not uncommon for R&D (or business) models to swing to and fro. Sometimes the urge is to separate various business units into individual specialized areas of expertise, and other times it is thought that combining all the core talents and leveraging a central group across the whole business is the most efficient and productive solution.
The aforementioned Merck and like companies seem to be going back to their core specialization as the means to more effectively compete. This Bayer model seems to be more of the combine and leverage school. We'll get to see who does better in the market but I have a difficult time believing there will be all that much synergy (dreaded S-word) across plant, animal and human units. See Fierce Biotech. More like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Jan 2nd 2013.