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's pain med clears PhIII as long-delayed Remoxy waits in the wings

Pfizer posted some promising top-line results for a Phase III pain drug, an abuse-resistant formulation of oxycodone that sounds quite a bit like Remoxy, the long-delayed treatment codeveloped with Pain Therapeutics. 

Valeant, Mylan and Actavis eye Pfizer's brand-new generics unit for buyout: Reuters

Pfizer celebrated three birthdays January 1. That's when it officially divided its business into three distinct units, each with its own management and financial reporting--and each with its own prospect of setting off on its own, at least eventually. Analysts are betting that one of those three businesses will be first to go: Already, potential buyers are buzzing.

Pfizer trialing video game designed to diagnose Alzheimer's

The game attempts to assess whether someone has Alzheimer's by evaluating how well they respond to distractions and interruptions.

Pfizer taps risk-sharing researcher Avillion for cancer PhIII

Contract researcher Avillion launched last year with a novel approach to contract drug development, planning to team up with Big Pharmas on late-stage assets and take drugs to the finish line in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. Now the London company has reeled in a big-name partner in Pfizer, signing on to run a Phase III study of the cancer-fighting Bosulif.

Pfizer asks Akili: Can a video game really diagnose Alzheimer's?

When it comes to Alzheimer's research, success stories are few and far between. Therapeutic programs center around vaccines and drugs, but Akili Interactive Labs wants to change all that: The Boston-based startup recently signed a deal with Pfizer to see if its mobile video game platform can help diagnose early signs of Alzheimer's.

Durect, Impax tie up for a shingles patch to last 6 times as long as Lidoderm

Impax Laboratories is tapping Durect Corporation for its mid-stage transdermal patch Eladur, which is designed to ease the pain associated with shingles. For exclusive rights to the delivery tech, Impax agreed to pay up to $63 million to Durect when all is said and done.

Study finds giving Prevnar and flu vaccine together raises risk of fever

Fever is a common side effect of many vaccinations; an estimated one-third of people receiving Pfizer's Prevnar 13 develop a mild case. Flu vaccines also cause cases, prompting researchers to investigate a question--does giving the shots simultaneously raise the risk of fever? The resulting study suggests the answer is yes. 

UPDATED: China suspends imports of Pfizer's antifungal Diflucan on a paperwork problem

Foreign drugmakers have had their fair share of struggles in China this year as the country looked to cut down on healthcare spending and root out bribery. But neither of those factors caused a Tuesday holdup of a Pfizer drug. Instead, the company is blaming a paperwork problem for an import suspension on antifungal drug Diflucan.

Schulman leaves Pfizer weeks before start date of new top vaccine job

When Pfizer unveiled plans to carve up the business into three units, the company's top lawyer Amy Schulman was one of the big winners. Schulman was to take charge of a new unit that combined the vaccine, cancer and consumer products businesses. Now, two weeks before Schulman was due to start in the role, she is out of a job.

Pfizer gives Teva a lift with deal for Viagra generic launch in 2017

After years of wrangling over Pfizer's patent on Viagra, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has made a deal. Under an agreement with Pfizer, the Israeli generics giant can launch its version of the blockbuster pill on Dec. 11, 2017, more than two years before its final patent protection expires.