The leader in pharma sales, Pfizer is well known thanks to several household name drugs, including Lipitor, Advil, Celebrex, Zithromax and the ever-abundant "little blue pill," Viagra. As the company looks at the looming Lipitor patent cliff, CEO Ian Read has been searching for new methods to keep revenue high, other than new approved drugs. Recently, the company has been considering spinning off portions of the company to create smaller, more profitable arms, a polar opposite of former CEO Jeffrey Kindler's bulk-up strategy of years past. The company's past purchases and mergers have included King Pharmaceuticals, Warner-Lambert, SUGEN and a $68 billion purchase, Wyeth, in 2009.

Wyeth provided Pfizer with an influx of 17 new drugs and vaccines, including Enbrel, Effexor, Prevnar and Pristiq, and Pfizer declared the merger made them "one of the most diversified companies in the global health care industry." And the company continues to move forward as it focuses on hot areas, including Alzheimer's, oncology and vaccines.

The company's legal woes have caused headaches as well. Pfizer has paid over $340 million in settlements for its menopause treatment, Prempro and has 1,200 cases pending for the anti-smoking drug Chantix. Back in 2009, it paid $1.3 billion for illegal marketing fines for the painkiller Bextra, making it the largest fine in United States history.

Pfizer has stayed in the top two on FiercePharma's annual layoffs list for the past three years, thanks in part to the company's 2009 megamerger with Wyeth, and the pressure could be felt for another five years. The company also placed second in the Top 15 R&D Budgets, with $7.4 billion in 2009. But those numbers will continue to slip as Pfizer looks towards development deals instead of in-house research.

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Pfizer turns back Mylan's patent challenge to Sutent

Pfizer execs can sigh with relief now that a federal court has backed the company's patents on kidney cancer drug Sutent. The med has become increasingly important to Pfizer as sales of off-patent drugs have faded, and so it was alarming to the U.S. drugmaker when generics maker Mylan challenged the patent in 2010 and filed to make its own copy.

What does Pfizer's $11B buyback mean for the chances of an AstraZeneca bid?

Pfizer's $11 billion share buyback, announced late Thursday, gave investors something to focus on, rather than fretting about whether the company would renew its pursuit of AstraZeneca once the required cooling off period lapses in November. But some of them immediately started worrying about whether the buyback meant it was less likely Pfizer would do a big deal.

Will Pfizer rebid for AstraZeneca? Keep an eye on U.S. midterm election for clues

Will Pfizer come back at AstraZeneca? That's been the question of the summer, especially since the U.S. Treasury Department rolled out new rules for tax-inversion deals.

UPDATED: FDA panel say Pfizer's Chantix should continue to wear a 'black box' label

Pfizer's controversial smoking-cessation drug Chantix will continue to be stuck with a black-box warning label at least until late next year, assuming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration follows the recommendations of its experts.

Dialysis drives Baxter growth as it preps for Baxalta spinoff

The acquisition of dialysis company Gambro last September continues to fuel Baxter International's sales growth as it preps to spin off its biopharma division in 2015. But despite some stop-gap measures, it's not likely that Baxter will actually be able to meet the demand for its dialysis products until additional manufacturing capacity opens up in 2016.

FDA reviewers say Pfizer's Chantix should keep its black box

FDA staffers aren't as impressed with new safety data on Chantix as Pfizer wants them to be. In briefing documents filed in advance of Thursday's advisory committee meeting, reviewers say the stop-smoking remedy should keep its black-box warning about potential psychiatric side effects.

Pfizer breast cancer prospect grabs FDA's speedy review promise

Pfizer's pipeline could use a big approval, and it may have one coming in palbociclib.

Pfizer nabs a fast FDA review for breast cancer pipeline star palbociclib

Pfizer has picked up a priority review designation for its closely watched cancer drug palbociclib, potentially slicing four months off the review timeline for a therapy that is being hustled along at an accelerated rate.

Merck and Pfizer join Accenture's Life Sciences Cloud Coalition

Accenture has joined with some big names for its R&D analytics platform. Eisai, Merck and Pfizer have signed up to collaborate on further development of the system, which is built on a mix of technologies from Accenture and Oracle.

Pfizer's meningitis B vaccine is effective when given with HPV jab

Hoping to boost its chances of FDA approval early next year, Pfizer has unveiled results from a Phase II clinical trial for its meningitis B vaccine, showing that the jab is safe and effective in adolescents when given alongside a licensed vaccine for human papillomavirus.