Pfizer CEO Defends "Strategic" Wyeth Deal

Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler defends his company's plan to acquire rival Wyeth for $68 billion in the biggest pharmaceutical merger in eight years, despite a plunge of more than 16 percent in Pfizer's stock price last week.

"Investors I've spoken to are very supportive of the deal," Kindler told CNBC's David Faber. "They recognize the strategic value of it, the fact that we're going to create...a great platform for consistent earnings growth across a diverse range of products."

(To listen to the full interview, watch the video to the left.)

The world's top drugmaker announced the deal at the same time it reported a 90 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit, stemming mostly from a large legal settlement. The company also announced a 10 percent reduction in its workforce and said it would cut its dividend payment in half in order to help pay for the Wyeth acquisition.

"I think the stock performance is not unusual after an acquisition is announced," Kindler said. "Certainly, the dividend cut had an impact."

In still another potential setback, Pfizer said Friday it stopped a late stage study of an experimental drug to treat advanced pancreatic cancer after an independent monitoring board found no evidence that it prolongs survival.

The drug, axitinib, is still being studied for kidney cancer in late stage clinical trials, and is in mid-stage trials for non-small cell lung cancer, colon cancer and other tumor types.

Kindler shrugged off last week's stock setback.

"I can't get hung up on one week's performance of the stock," he said. "This is a strategic move for a long-term business; we've spent the last two years rebuilding and strengthening the company so that we can be ready to do this."

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this article.