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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Amy Schulman, tapped to lead a new Pfizer division, makes an abrupt exit

In July, Amy Schulman looked to be one of the most powerful women in Big Pharma. As part of CEO Ian Read's plan to split Pfizer's internal operations into three distinct units, he tapped Schulman to lead the company's vaccines, oncology and consumer healthcare business. Now, Schulman is out.

Siemens becomes one of Pfizer's many companion diagnostics suitors

Siemens will concoct diagnostic tests for some Pfizer drugs, the German conglomerate has disclosed. As is the norm with these type of deals, neither side is releasing financial details.

Genocea begins a PhI trial of its rival to Pfizer's Prevnar

The huge sales generated by Prevnar 13 mean Pfizer appears to have the pneumococcal vaccine sector sewn up, but Genocea Biosciences sees an opportunity to disrupt the monopoly. This week, the biotech began a Phase I clinical trial of the vaccine it thinks can unseat Prevnar.

Pfizer loses its Supreme Court bid to squash $142M Neurontin verdict

It was March 2010 when Pfizer first lost its bid to escape a $142 million racketeering verdict, with a federal jury ruling the company's marketing of epilepsy treatment Neurontin violated both federal and state law. Now, nearly four years later, Pfizer's appeal process has come to the end of the line. The Supreme Court has refused to hear the drugmaker's appeal, leaving the verdict intact and the door open for similar claims to proceed.

Pfizer's unlocked trial data could be a boon to CROs

Pfizer has joined the list of Big Pharmas caving to public pressure and opening up their data vaults, and that could mean a valuable trove of study results for CROs plotting new trials--assuming the drugmaker feels like sharing.

Pentagon tasks Pfizer with radically rethinking vaccine development

Vaccines have basically worked the same way for decades. A pathogen antigen is isolated, used as the basis of a vaccine and administered to the patient. The Pentagon thinks there might be a better way of doing things, and it has tasked Pfizer with investigating its hunch.

Text mining 88,000 papers gives Pfizer a drug safety database

Biopharma researchers have accrued a huge library of chemical safety data over the past 60 years, but--as is often the case--much of it is tied up in formats that make computational analysis impossible.

Pfizer will give clinical trial info to patients

Pfizer says it will support the trend toward making more data from clinical trials available by providing easy-to-understand summaries to patients who participate in the independent studies.

Pfizer starts to unlock the data vault on drug studies

With pressure growing on Big Pharmas to be more transparent with their drug data, Pfizer says it plans to start unlocking the data vaults, with special plans to allow easy access for patients in studies to check out their personal info.

Pfizer is opening up clinical trial data to researchers, patients starting in 2014

With pressure mounting on drugmakers to make clinical trial data more transparent, Pfizer has started to take steps to open up its results, unveiling more concrete details and a timeline for adoption this week.