GlaxoSmithKline to close Reliant HQ, lay off marketers

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GlaxoSmithKline will close the Liberty Corner, NJ, headquarters of Reliant Pharmaceuticals and plans to lay off 109 workers at the site, The Star-Ledger of New Jersey reports.

GSK acquired Reliant in a $1.65 billion deal last year. Reliant had $367.5 million in sales in 2006, profiting mostly from its lead product, the blood triglyceride lowerer Lovaza. Reliant's other drugs include Dyna Circ and InnoPran XL to treat high blood pressure and Rythmol SR for abnormal heartbeats.

Among the affected positions are VP of marketing, compliance officers, payroll managers and business analysts, The Star-Ledger reported. When acquired in November 2007, Reliant had roughly 1,000 employees. Some 50 were in research and development, but the bulk were in sales and marketing.

“We have offered jobs to some of the Reliant folks,” a GSK spokesman told the newspaper. “Some of them have chosen to join us. Others have not.” The integration of the two companies is expected to wrap up by June.

In January 2007, Reliant tapped former Merck US human health president Bradley Sheares as CEO. Sheares succeded Ernest Mario, who had been CEO since 2003.

Reliant was founded in 1999 and is noted for recruiting an array of retired Big Pharma execs during its growth.

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