Drug maker Pfizer is eliminating research-and-development operations in Sanford and Research Triangle Park that employ a total of 170 workers.
The world's largest drug maker announced the cutbacks today as part of a worldwide restructuring of its R&D operations in the wake of last month's acquisition of Wyeth.
The cutbacks at Sanford include only the research-and-development work done at the facility, which previously was part of Wyeth. The lion's share of the workers at Sanford are involved in manufacturing, which isn't affected by today's announcement.
Pfizer is still studying its manufacturing operations and plans to announce its plans for them over the next three to six months, said spokeswoman Kristen Neese.
A breakdown of how many of the jobs slated for elimination today are based in Sanford and how many are in RTP wasn't immediately available. The R&D operations will be phased out over the next year.
Pfizer is closing a half-dozen R&D centers, a move that will leave it with 14 sites around the world. The closures also will eliminate the jobs of roughly 15 percent of the company's scientists and laboratory technicians. In addition to job cuts, some employees are being asked to move to other sites.
Prior to the combination of the two companies, Pfizer had about 9,000 researchers and technicians, while Wyeth had about 4,500.
"We have really built the very best from the two companies," Martin Mackay, president of R&D for pills and other traditional medicines, told the Associated Press.