Ipsen to bulk up commercial team as it moves US hub to NJ

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Ipsen announced plans to reorganize its North American commercial operation by relocating the head office from California to New Jersey and hiring about 100 employees.

The firm will lease a facility in Bridgewater, and the new staffers, 117 to be exact across all functions including marketing and sales leadership, are expected to start work there by April, focusing on endocrinology drug Somatuline Depot and Dysport, for treating uncontrolled muscle spasms. The move follows the French specialty company's 2008 purchase of endocrine health firm Tercica, of Brisbane, CA, for $663 million.

As part of the reorganization, the California office is being closed, and Sean McKercher, Ipsen US president, is officially taking the helm for North American operations. "In many ways, the US is like an emerging market to us," McKercher, who came out of Ipsen's business development group and had been part of the team that worked on the Tercica acquisition, told MM&M. "We've been in the US since 2008 and haven't fully realized the potential of our products here."

McKercher said the East Coast leadership team is mostly in place, and the West Coast team will be phased out over the next three months (relocation was offered to some of the California employees, but few accepted). The sales force, currently numbering 64 not including customer-facing MSLs and the payer-relations group, is unaffected by the relocation. In the future, plans call for growing the field force to 116, for a total of 213 people in the US (116 in the field, 117 in the head office).

The relocation is part of a pair of US projects announced today by Paris-based Ipsen, the other involving a $45-million expansion and renovation of a Massachusetts R&D and technical operations center. The company plans to officially retire the Tercica name in early 2012, McKercher added.

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