Note: patents may reference multiple technology areas.
|Pfizer %||AZ 100%|
Pfizer and AstraZeneca are active in three shared therapeutic areas: cardiovascular undefined metabolic diseases, neurosciences (and pain), and oncology. Pfizer distinguishes itself in rare diseases, vaccines, immunology, whereas AstraZeneca actively focuses on respiratory, infection and gastrointestinal therapeutics. In the visualization these areas can be seen by selecting them in the areas-tab. Both companies offer a range of different drugs in these therapeutic areas. (Note: Not included in the visualization are the drugs of which Pfizer or AstraZeneca hold licenses to manufacture, but not necessarily all the patents to do so.)
What does this network visualization tell us about the R&D of both companies in light of the merger that Pfizer is pushing for? The primary observation is that Pfizer is dominant in over 80% of the technological areas of the combined fields of both companies. Each of the categories highlights the relative presence of both Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Clicking on a category selects the technology clusters in the network.
The light blue nodes in the middle represent methodological, manufacturing and compositional areas in which both AstraZeneca and Pfizer are active, but where Pfizer is predominant. There are very few areas (“Only AstraZeneca” and “Predominantly AstraZeneca” categories) where AstraZeneca can claim to be unique to Pfizer, and these are what Pfizer will be acquiring, if the goal of the merger is to expand Pfizer’s knowledge and R&D portfolio.
In general R&D terms, over the last 20 years, both Pfizer and AstraZeneca have tended to incremental innovation, with fewer new technological and scientific areas – but their relative acquisitions have gone some way to addressing this decline in their in-house knowledge portfolios. As per the chart below showing the number of new technology groups in which AstraZeneca and Pfizer have applied for patents; for Pfizer, the total number of novel research topics per year decreased from their peak in 2000. For AstraZeneca, the number of new research topics per year remained flat from 1994 (pre-merger between Astra and Zeneca) to 2004 with an uptick in 2005. It is important to note that the total values include the acquired companies’ portfolios pre-acquisition. In other words, each acquired company adds to the total knowledge portfolio at present.
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