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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Analysis: A weakened Pfizer signals that it's prepped to wheel and deal

Now that the deadline for any quick deal to acquire AstraZeneca has passed, about the only certainty to emerge from the wrecked takeover is that the last thing Pfizer can do now is go back to business as usual.

UPDATED: Pfizer to AstraZeneca: Say goodbye to our $120B offer

With the official deadline for any immediate takeover discussions looming on Monday, Pfizer picked up its ball and bat and headed for the lockers, officially calling an end to its odd quest to buy out AstraZeneca.

Leading Pfizer and AstraZeneca shareholder BlackRock wants the megamerger

Four times Pfizer has made offers to buy AstraZeneca and four times, the U.K. company has said no. But the world's largest money-management firm hopes in this case no doesn't mean no. BlackRock--which owns 8% of AstraZeneca and 6.8% of Pfizer--is encouraging discussions between the two companies, according to Bloomberg, which cited anonymous sources.

AZ and Europe's 'innovation malaise,' €30M Irish life sciences fund, U.K. cell therapy bags £10M

In the latest EuroBiotech Report, while critics of Pfizer's attempt to buy AstraZeneca spent the week celebrating a major blow to the deal, an awkward question remains: Exactly what has been "saved" from Pfizer's clutches? And more.

Swelling ranks of AstraZeneca's dissident shareholders press for a Pfizer deal

It's not over yet. Another one of AstraZeneca's big investors appears to have joined the rebel group demanding that the board get to the bargaining table and see where it can take Pfizer's latest $120 billion offer. Citing sources, The Wall Street Journal reports that Legal & General, AstraZeneca's 6 th largest shareholder with a 3.5% stake in the company, wrote a letter to the board telling them they should engage in takeover talks.

What next for Pfizer? Perhaps a return to the popular breakup idea

So, Pfizer. What's Plan B? That's what investors are asking, now that CEO Ian Read's $117 billion bid for AstraZeneca hit a wall--and the promised trifecta of lower taxes, cost savings and promising drugs along with it.

Angry AstraZeneca investors may hold the only key to a Pfizer deal

Now that AstraZeneca's board has nixed Pfizer's "final" offer, the proposed $119 billion megamerger would seem to be all but dead. Pfizer's already given up the option of going hostile, which is easier in the U.K. than it is in the U.S. And British M&A rules prevent Pfizer from topping a final bid. But signs of investor unrest have begun to surface at AstraZeneca. And the rebels may hold the only key to restarting controversial negotiations.

How did AstraZeneca make the Pfizer bid a Harry vs. Voldemort story?

Analysts have pointed out the change from "significantly undervalues" to "undervalues," and the absence of the word "unanimous" from the AstraZeneca board's official rebuff of Pfizer's latest offer. The media is polling top AstraZeneca shareholders, looking for hints about which might push for deal--and how hard.

Why did Pfizer's big fiesta for palbociclib fizzle?

In the old days, back in April, the big news everyone was waiting for from Pfizer was whether it would go ahead and file for FDA approval of its star pipeline drug palbociclib on Phase II data alone. The answer, signaled by the rolling of the drums Friday as trading in Pfizer's shares was momentarily suspended, was yes. But as Pfizer had recently shifted the primary focus to its wholly unexpected megamerger bid for AstraZeneca, the response from investors was somewhat underwhelming.

UPDATED: AstraZeneca slaps down Pfizer's 'final' $119B takeover bid

AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson condemned the tax inversion scheme at the heart of the proposal--along with the cost-cutting that would have followed the megamerger--and confidently chose to gamble the company's future on its new and expanded pipeline.