Neurocrine lays off its sales force

Neurocrine Biosciences has terminated its entire 200-member sales force, the San Diego firm said. The decision comes on the heels of Pfizer’s decision in late June to end its marketing partnership with the company for insomnia drug Indiplon. Neurocrine said it would release its sales team since the company was unable to acquire a product to keep the reps busy while it continues to seek FDA approval for Indiplon. Pfizer helped Neurocrine create the sales staff as part of an agreement between the companies in 2002. The sales team had been established to help market Pfizer’s antidepressant Zoloft, in addition to Indiplon. But after losing US patent protection last month, there is no need for further Zoloft promotion. In May, the FDA delayed approval of 5 mg and 10 mg versions of Indiplon and issued a rejection for a 15 mg dose. At the time, Neurocrine said it planned to meet with the FDA to finalize development plans for the resubmissions of each Indiplon NDA and to commercialize Indiplon as quickly as possible upon approval. Neurocrine said it also plans to review various business and commercial alternatives related to Indiplon, including possible future partnerships.