Q&A With Merck CEO On Reorganization, R&D

This week Merck (MRK) announced yet another large reorganization designed to jumpstart its operations and boost its stock price. Another 8,500 jobs are going on top of the thousands that were eliminated over the past several years, corporate headquarters are being moved for the second time in the past year and, significantly, R&D operations are going to emphasize four specific areas, in particular. We spoke briefly with Merck CEO Ken Frazier, 58, about the changes. This is an edited version…

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Pharmalot: You’ve haven’t been CEO for more than a few years, but you have been with Merck a long time and so have a perspective as good as anyone’s. I’m wondering if you would agree that the past decade has been something of a lost decade.

Frazier: First of all, R&D is a cyclical issue. The last decade is when Merck introduced Januvia, Gardasil, Isentress and Rotateq. So I wouldn’t call it a lost decade. I would say the recent experiences in R&D were more favorable than we anticipated. But we are no less committed to R&D going forward. In the R&D business, you know there’s a certain uncertainty. We want to better target resources behind opportunities that have the greatest potential for a return on investment. Fundamentally, this (reorganization) is about sustaining R&D.

To read the remainder of this article, go to Pharmalot.

Ed Silverman, a contributing editor of YCharts, is the founder and editor of Pharmalot. He previously reported on the pharmaceutical industry and other business topics for the Star-Ledger of New Jersey, New York Newsday and Investor’s Business Daily. He can be reached at editor@ycharts.com. Read the RIABiz profile of YCharts. You can also request a demonstration of YCharts Platinum.



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