Pfizer announced plans to increase its R&D presence in Asia at its Hong Kong investor meeting on Friday, while saying it is also look to double the amount of manufacturing outsourcing to 30 per cent. The pharma giant has struggled in the past year and the high profile clinical trial failure of its cholesterol-lowering drug Torcetrapib has only matters worse. Torcetrapib would have enabled Pfizer to defend the patents its cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) that are due to expire in 2011, potentially creating a $13bn hole in the company's revenues. In addition, Pfizer's pipeline has been criticised from many quarters, with even the company's new president of global R&D stating "I'm the first to admit [the drug pipeline] is not as rich as I'd like it to be." To help combat this Pfizer will look to bolster its Asian R&D, targeting China, India, Japan and South Korea. New sites in these areas would help the company bolster its share of the Asian pharmaceutical market which is predicted to grow to $200bn by 2017. Mackay said he had been impressed with the Shanghai Research Centre that was opened in 2005 and now houses around 200 staff. Pfizer will invest over $300m in R&D in South Korea over the next five years in a bid to bolster its drug pipeline. The company is also looking to cut its manufacturing costs and announced earlier this year that it would be closing two plants in the US and one in Germany. To make up for the manufacturing shortfall the company plans to double the amount of manufacturing it outsources to 30 per cent. Much of this extra will be to Asian contract manufacturers, although Pfizer did not give a timetable or say which countries would be targeted.