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MLIVE: Top Kalamazoo business stories of 2011: Pfizer Animal Health business

1/1/12

KALAMAZOO — New York-based drug giant Pfizer Inc. announced plans on July 7 to explore “strategic alternatives” for its Animal Health and Nutrition businesses based on a review of its business portfolio.

The drug maker said it wanted to find “the optimal mix of businesses for maximizing shareholder value.”

The situation is of keen interested here because Kalamazoo County is world headquarters for two key Animal Health operations — Pfizer’s Veterinary Medicine Research & Development and its Animal Genetics. The latter involves the science of using genes to help farmers and breeders improve the health of their animals.

Pfizer spokesman Rick Chambers said it would be one to two years before the world’s largest pharmaceutical maker decides what it will do with the business units.

“We hope it will become its own independent entity — an independent company headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan,” said Ron Kitchens, chief executive officer of regional economic development organization Southwest Michigan First.

Pharmaceutical industry observers say a sale to another large player in the pharmaceutical or animal health industry could result in dramatic cost-cutting, including job reductions.

A spin-off of the business to make it a separate company could allow a new owner to operate as a freestanding player in the world of animal medicines.

By Al Jones

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