Derek Lowe’s Rumor Piece Has Been Confirmed By The WSJ — A Layer Cake Elimination, At MRL

I’ve waited all day to mention the rumors I too heard, because at this site — being front-line-level “employee-friendly” — I don’t want to traffic in rumors that may affect peoples’ livelihoods and careers, without some firm substantiation. Executives are fair game; ordinary people, not so much so.

That came late this afternoon, in The Wall Street Journal [Second bit, below the line, is from the Journal‘s reporting].

Still — Kudos to Derek! — here is a bit of his (in the comments section, actually), from early this morning, on it. Do go read it all:

. . . .Research Leadership Team (RLT)

Rupert Vessey will lead Discovery and Early Development.

Rich Tillyer will have responsibility for Preclinical Development, including process chemistry.

Linda Schaffer will lead Project Management group, and will have responsibility for all performance metrics.

Barry Gertz will head the Clinical Development organization, including clinical operations, the clinical therapeutic areas, and the Japan development organization,

Dennis Erb will be responsible for our Regulatory Affairs and Safety organization, which will be expanded to include our emerging market activities,

Rich Murray will lead research in Biologics and Vaccines, including process development activities necessary to provide materials for clinical trials and the transfer of commercially viable manufacturing processes to MMD.

Licensing organization will report directly to Roger Perlmutter. An external search for a new head of licensing is underway Roger Pomerantz is gone.

All senior management roles associated explicitly with franchise governance (Franchise Heads and Franchise Worldwide Discovery Heads) have been eliminated, and the people have been let go.

All site heads have been let go.

Blood bath at the managerial levels of MRL.

Rumor has it that Roger said that the dysfunction was beyond belief, and not the fault of the scientists. . . .


And from the WSJ:


. . . .Roger Perlmutter, who took the helm of Merck’s laboratories in April, has eliminated “franchise head” positions managing the discovery and development of new drugs, according to a memo sent to Merck employees this week and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. These senior managers oversaw teams working on new drugs for diabetes, cancer and other diseases.

In place of these positions, Dr. Perlmutter established a new team of senior leaders to manage the various aspects of drug R&D, from early discovery to regulatory affairs.

“Virtually everyone has expressed frustration with our system of governance and the complexity of our organizational design,” Dr. Perlmutter wrote in the memo. He expressed regret the changes “resulted in the elimination of several senior positions” and said they take effect immediately. . . . .

Of course, we will follow up as this develops.


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