2009's big stories: Pfizer closure

In November, about three weeks after its $67 billion merger with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals closed, Pfizer Inc. announced that it is pulling out of New London while keeping its local workforce intact by consolidating operations into its Groton campus.

The company, which shed at least 600 jobs locally last year, is facing a patent-expiration cliff for some of its leading products. The Wyeth deal brings promising new medicines, but the pressure is on for Pfizer to discover drugs to replace such blockbusters as Lipitor and Viagra.

Business leaders worry even more jobs at Pfizer could be in jeopardy over the next two years, which could make the New London closure a net loss to the whole region.

New London, whose reputation was tarnished when its attempts to please Pfizer led to a controversial eminent-domain case, also offered Pfizer tax abatements that will end, perhaps not so coincidentally according to critics, about the same time as the company pulls up stakes in 2011.

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