J&J merges Ortho Biotech, Centocor sales, slashes 400 jobs

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Johnson & Johnson is consolidating sales and marketing personnel for Ortho Biotech and Centecor. As a result, 400 “field-based” sales jobs will be cut by the end of the year. Of the 400 cuts, 150 will come from Ortho Biotech's Bridgewater, New Jersey headquarters. 

Kim Taylor, currently the president of commercial operations at Ortho Biotech, will head up the new team. Neal Fowler, Centocor's sales and marketing chief, stepped down on March 21, the Star-Ledger reported.

The decision to merge sales and marketing departments hinged on two key issues: a decline in the market for Procrit and demonstrated growth at Centecor, according to Chris Molineaux, a J&J spokesman.

“[J&J] is redeploying resources to support [Centecor's] Remicade, a $3 billion product, as well as two new products” slated for 2008 and 2009, said Molineaux.

Ortho Biotech's Procrit, along with other anemia products such as Amgen's Aranesp, have lost market share to generics, and have raised safety concerns over new warning labels. 

One new product, Centecor's ustekinumab, was filed in 2007 for the treatment of chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and is scheduled to launch this year.

The other product, golimumab, was filed for the treatment of rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, and will launch in 2009.

Schering-Plough markets Remicade exclusively outside of the US, and will market golimumab, upon approval, outside the US. Centocor markets Remicade in the US, and will market golimumab upon FDA approval. 
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