Altana to dismantle sales, marketing team

Altana Pharma said it would lay off about 400 workers as part of a dismantling of its US sales & marketing and research operations. By year’s end, 300 sales and 50 marketing employees will lose their jobs at Altana Pharma’s offices in New Jersey, a spokesperson told MM&M, reducing New Jersey headcount to 170 clinical development, regulatory and global respiratory franchise team members. The additional 50 layoffs will occur at a research institute in Massachusetts. The layoffs at the firm, which is the drugmaking arm of German chemical company Altana AG, are due to delays in the US approvals of respiratory products Alvesco and Daxas, said Hans-Joachim Lohrisch, CEO of Altana Pharma AG, in a statement. The spokesperson said Altana plans to outlicense promotion of the two drugs after acquiring marketing authorization. Asthma spray Alvesco was filed with the FDA in 2003, while COPD drug Daxas is still under development. While this announcement coincides with the recently announced sale of Altana Pharma to Nycomed for $5.7 billion, the decisions occurred completely independent of each other, Altana said.