Therapeutic vaccines take center stage at Pfizer

When Pfizer R&D chief Martin MacKay addressed the recent JP Morgan conference, he left no doubt how interested the pharma giant is in new biotech therapies--particularly therapeutic vaccines. Analysts quickly pointed to Pfizer's licensing deal with Avant Immunotherapeutics' brain cancer vaccine as a case in point.

While Pfizer readies its axe to hack down some 800 jobs in its research operations, other therapeutic vaccine developers should pay heed to Pfizer's plans. With less work in R&D, Pfizer is likely to aggressively go after new licensing deals as well as outright acquisitions. And that should bolster values among the biotech companies that fit their new strategy.

Analysts say that Pfizer has to scramble fast. Its recent attempts to introduce new blockbusters have derailed and in 2011 the company will lose patent protection on Lipitor, a cholesterol therapy that provides a quarter of the pharma giant's $48 billion in revenue.

- read the Dow Jones report
- check out the story in the Wall Street Journal