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On the Call: Merck R&D director Roger Perlmutter

The Associated Press

During a conference call with analysts to discuss first-quarter results Wednesday, drugmaker Merck & Co. introduced its new head of research and development, Roger Perlmutter, a former Merck research executive who had run R&D at biotech drugmaker Amgen Inc. for more than a decade. Analysts asked Perlmutter, who started two weeks ago, about his approach.

Question: After reviewing Merck's research programs, do you see any need for improvements?

Answer: There are going to be some changes that take place. I'm doing a review of (research) programs, processes and people. Already, I can see there are some opportunities for improvements. ... No matter how good your research organization is, and we're very, very good, the majority of good research is done elsewhere (including at universities and smaller companies). I'm eager to take advantage of those programs and bring them in house.