Pfizer: A Delay And A Deal?

At the risk of getting more emails from conspiracy-theorist readers who think I report too much negative news about Pfizer, here comes another setback for the world's biggest drug company.

Pfizer announced this morning that it is pulling all of its applications around the world for approval of a MRSA-related drug and going back to the drawing board to do another big, expensive clinical trial.

Shares of the Dow component are lower, but that could also be a reaction to reports from overseas that PFE may take a couple aspirin...Bayer aspirin, that is.

There are scattered media outlet reports citing European traders saying there are rumors Pfizer might make a play for Germany's Bayer. Shares of BAY, which are usually lightly-traded here, rallied in overseas trading.

Pfizer--and pretty much any company, for that matter--never comments on deal rumors. But Chairman and CEO Jeff Kindler has repeatedly said that a big merger or acquisition doesn't make sense. Bayer is a combo drug-chemical company. And it's part owner of a competitor to PFE's kidney cancer drug Sutent. BAY and Onyx Pharmaceuticals sell Nexavar for kidney and liver cancer. PFE wants a bigger footprint in oncology, but would it buy a company with a similar, competing drug?

Pfizer has a major headache in the form of the looming patent expiration on the mega-blockbuster cholesterol-fighter Lipitor and little in its drug development pipeline to replace the loss of $13 billion in annual revenue. And taking two aspirin isn't gonna make it go away.

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Questions? Comments?