Company news: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, TGaS and Roche

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Hurricane Sandy shut down trading Monday and prompted Pfizer to push off disclosing its third-quarter earnings until Thursday. Pfizer was joined in its decision by Thompson-Reuters and NRG energy, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Pfizer is laying off 300 employees from its Canadian operations, the Canadian Broadcast Wire reported Sunday. The layoffs will shrink Pfizer's northern footprint from 2,700 employees to 2,400 and the majority of the cuts will be at the Montreal-area headquarters. The CBC noted that the cuts come just as the company finished an almost $32 million upgrade to its Montreal manufacturing location.

The fallout from Johnson & Johnson's disappointing Alzheimer's drug trials continue to pile up. The company is now laying off 130 employees from the San Francisco office of its Janssen Alzheimer's Immunotherapy unit, reported Pharmalot. Bapineuzumab was a joint effort that included Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Elan. The companies reported in August that the drug failed to hits its Phase III goals, but that the Phase II angle was going to continue to be explored. The unimpressive outcome was expected, as were the poor results of Lilly's Alzheimer's drug candidate.

TGaS Advisors, a unit of KnowledgePoint360, released a brief advising pharma marketing researchers to help ensure their relevance to their organizations by providing "actionable recommendations" to brand managers, and by being more proactive in identifying opportunities to research business issues. Those are two areas in which pharma brand managers, surveyed by TGaS, have given marketing researchers relatively low scores, TGaS said. The brief, available at tgas.com (registration required), follows the State of the Industry (SOI) survey, developed and fielded in late 2011 by TGaS and the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group (PMRG), that found a widening chasm in the relationships between suppliers and clients and, partly due to lower headcount, that a declining number of market researchers expects to have a big influence on commercial decision making.

The EMA has opened an investigation of Roche for allegedly failing to report adverse events with its 19 EU-approved medicines. The probe comes on the heels of a routine pharmacovigilance inspection carried out in May 2012 by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which identified “serious shortcomings of Roche's pharmacovigilance processes,” the EMA said in a statement. According to the MHRA, these included some 80,000 reports for medicines sold by Roche in the US that had been collected through a Roche-sponsored patient support program, but which had not been vetted for the need to report them to EU authorities. Some 15,161 of those were reports of patient deaths, although it is not known whether or not these deaths were linked to the medicine. Pending the outcome of the investigation, the EC may slap Roche with fines or periodic penalty payments.

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