Oscient Pharmaceuticals Lays Off 180 Reps

Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharmaceutical Executive, Pharmaceutical Executive-06-18-2009, Volume 0, Issue 0

Oscient trims 180 sales, marketing, and corporate jobs in the wake of patent expirations, generic competition.

Oscient Pharmaceuticals, last week, announced that it will be ending all promotion activity for two of its treatments, and decreasing its sales force and marketing team by 180 bodies to compensate.

All marketing activities for the antibiotic Factive and the cholesterol treatment Antara will cease, but the company insists that it would still support and sell the drugs, and that doctors should not switch patients to different treatments.

Antara and Factive are the only two treatments Oscient is currently marketing. Additionally, it has an intravenous version of Factive for bacterial infections in preclinical trials and an antibiotic-associated diarrhea treatment in Phase II.

The company has been battling at least two other companies that are looking to release generic versions of Antara. Last month, Oscient found out that it will be facing generic competition for its Antara from Paddock Labs. Antara accounted for $70 million, or about 80 percent of the company’s total revenues.

The latest layoffs come in the wake of a restructuring plan, announced in February, that saw the Oscient aggressively trim 30 percent of its workforce of 305 people.

"Given current capital market constraints and our limited cash resources, we determined that the best way to position our organization for a potential partnership or acquisition was to take the difficult steps to realign our commercial organization and reduce cash required for operations," stated Steven M. Rauscher, president and CEO of Oscient, in a release. "We appreciate the many contributions of those employees impacted, and will work to ease their transition.”