Pfizer is seeking to create a Big Pharma behemoth with the acquisition of rival Wyeth, insiders tell the Wall Street Journal. The deal, expected to be worth around $60 billion, would make Pfizer—already the world's biggest drug company—big enough to redraw the map of the industry, although sources say the state of the economy means the talks could still collapse.
Spokesmen from both firms refused to comment. Big mergers in the pharma world have a poor track record—Pfizer has been burned before by expensive acquisitions—but the looming expiration of patents on lucrative drugs has increased pressure for industry consolidation. A Pfizer-Wyeth merger would result in huge savings on research and development, and give Pfizer more leverage to snap up biotech firms.