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Sweden and America join forces
In 1995, Sweden's Pharmacia and Michigan-based Upjohn discovered the cure for a stagnating market share. The two research-centered, pharmaceutically companies, both founded in the first half of the 20th century, merged that year to become the ninth-largest operation in the pharmaceutical industry. With a worldwide market base and a global leadership position in many of its therapeutic areas (such as infectious diseases, women's health, nutrition), Pharmacia & Upjohn hoped to become one of the top five pharmaceutical companies in the world. However, merger hiccups stalled the celebration.
When merger costs exceeded projections by $200 million dollars and P&U's stock fell 25 percent in the year following the merger, CEO John Zabriskie resigned, further spooking Wall Street. A PaineWebber analyst rated the firm "unattractive" - one of the worst tags an analyst can give. Internally, the merged company struggled to resolve the culture clash with offices in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Stockholm, Sweden; and Milan, Italy. But instead of selecting one of these offices as its headquarters, Pharmacia & Upjohn opted to create a new HQ in New Jersey, and closed its other offices, exacerbating turf battles amidst the American, British, Italian and Swedish executives.
Pharmacia & Upjohn pinned its hopes on new CEO Fred Hassan. Prior to joining Pharmacia & Upjohn, Hassan worked for American Home Products and a Swiss drug firm, Sandoz. With his 1997 appointment, he brought an entirely new management team with him to turn Pharmacia & Upjohn around. In a short amount of time, Hassan had essentially transformed the company's culture into an American one, after experiencing many difficulties integrating the Swiss and Italian company of Pharmacia. This transformation was executed in part by divesting company offices in Italy and Sweden, as well as the Swedish government's January 1999 decision to sell its remaining 7 percent stake in the company.
Trying to gain an edge
Although the merger has been a bumpy ride from a cultural standpoint, it always made sense from a strategy perspective. Upjohn brought top-selling products -- including Kaopectate, Rogaine, and Nicorette -- to the merger, Pharmacia brought flourishing biotechnology, health care, and diagnostics operations. Together, with the joining of established products and honed skills, Pharmacia & Upjohn promised to be a powerful combination. The new company now spends over $1 billion annually on research and development.
Aiming to climb higher
Pharmacia & Upjohn plans to continue its recent trend of increasing sales with a $650 million stock acquisition of Sugen Inc. in 1999. The company is interested in three anti-cancer drugs developed by the San Francisco-based biotechnology firm. The company also intends to introduce seven new drugs by the year 2000 which may include Reboxetine, an antidepressant that could compete with Prozac, as well as a breast cancer and HIV drug. Additionally, the company's chemotherapy drug, Epirubicin, used since 1982 for the treatment of various strains of cancer, was approved in 1999 by the FDA for treatment in the early stages of breast cancer. The company has even introduced an Extra Strength Rogaine cream which is 2.5 times more powerful than the original Rogaine. Pharmacia & Upjohn's drug poses a challenge to Merck's less effective, but more convenient, hair growth pill, Propecia, which Merck promoted in 1998. One of Pharmacia & Upjohn's advantages is that women of childbearing age cannot use Propecia for fear of birth defects, but Rogaine, a topical solution, is safe for all to use. Most recently, the FDA approved the drug Zyvox, known generically as linezolid. Zyvox is used for treating patients with serious infections, including some caused by ''superbugs'' that resist other medicines. The drug is designed to stop the multiplication of proteins that bacteria need to reproduce early in their life cycle, as opposed to other antibiotics which attack bacteria later in the process.
Another merger, a new name
In April 2000, Pharmacia-Upjohn finalized merger plans with Monsanto, creating a company known as Pharmacia Corporation. The new company has an expansive drug pipeline and an annual R&D budget of $2 billion. One-third of Pharmacia's sales will come from Monsanto's agricultural products. It remains to be seen whether the new company can avoid the problems it encountered when Pharmacia-Upjohn was created.
Pharmacia & Upjohn offers "exciting and challenging positions which combine the benefits of working with a team" with the fulfillment of "individual contributions and performance." "Right now, we're growing one of the most dynamic pharmaceutical sales forces in the business," reports one insider. Those interested in a U.S. sales position should log on to www.pnucareers.com for an updated list of openings. Here, "Pharmacia & Upjohn will post career opportunities" as they "continue to grow our dynamic pharmaceutical sales team." Applicants may send their resumes online or contact Pharmacia & Upjohn by phone, fax, mail or e-mail. One employee advises "We are currently hiring sales representatives to call on doctors around the country, and the salesforce is about half women. If you're interested, it's a good time to be hired."
Pharmacia & Upjohn's departments conduct their hiring independently of one another, and procedures differ. The company recruits regionally for office and technical, as well as for pharmaceutical sales positions. Pharmacia & Upjohn also advertises top professional positions in The Wall Street Journal, Science magazine, and some local newspapers.
The recent Pharmacia & Upjohn merger has given both source companies "an even broader international outlook" without "significantly changing how the company treats its workers." However, some employees report that the "culture clash between a Swedish company and a Midwestern company has been difficult to resolve," resulting in "slowing production" and confusion. Employees feel confident, however, that they are "on the right track now." One insider predicts,
Many Upjohn employees feared that the merger with Pharmacia would cost the company "its family style of management" and "family-oriented practices." "The best attribute" of Upjohn, according to one insider, is that the company "is very people oriented." "The company thinks about its associates first, even when making business decisions," so employees feel their level of job security is pretty high. "Advancement depends on the person -- but one insider notes, "I find it slow, to be sure." The slow mobility may be due to the high retention of associates."
Changing slowly but surely
Pharmacia & Upjohn has "many minorities and women in middle management," but "there are significantly less minorities and women in top management." Things maybe changing, as Pakistani CEO Fred Hassan's "first hire was a woman, who is second in charge now." There is also "a female Chief Information Officer, and several women VPs."
"The culture of the company is changing," but the current Pharmacia & Upjohn offers a "small-company atmosphere that encourages individual freedom." Pay is "not the best, but it's also not the worst" as Pharmacia & Upjohn "tries to stay at least average." Others find the salary generous and note it's "higher than what Pharmacia & Upjohn rivals offer." Benefits include "a profit-sharing bonus given once a year on a company-wide basis," several "performance awards," there is also a "cafeteria style benefits program, so you can pick and choose those benefits applicable to you," as well as a 401(k) and retirement plan. "The savings plan is very good," says one employee. "It gives you 50 percent extra for every dollar saved, up to a 5 percent maximum."
Moving everything around
Some employees bemoan a strict dress code and a "workweek that can stretch into eternity" when project deadlines near. The company's recent relocation of the North American Marketing and Sales staff to its New Jersey headquarters leaves many insiders feeling as if Pharmacia & Upjohn's corporate culture is still in the air, and no one is sure exactly how the dust will settle. Many contacts remain hopeful, however, that Pharmacia & Upjohn will become an industry leader with time and acknowledge that change was necessary.
Pharmaceuticals such as Xalatan (glaucoma drug)and Detrol (overactive bladder drug;Consumer health products;Animal health care;Chemical and contract manufacturing;Biotechnology;Diagnostics
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