With its fish-oil derived heart pill buffeted by fierce generic competition, Amarin is slashing its U.S. commercial team by roughly two-thirds, the drugmaker announced Monday.
The layoffs are part of a cost-reduction strategy meant to save about $100 million over the next year, Amarin said, and will reduce the company’s headcount by more than 40%.
“While we continue to see value in branded Vascepa in the U.S., the current operating landscape remains challenging,” said Amarin CEO Karim Mikhail in a statement.
A federal judge invalidated Vascepa’s patents in March 2020, opening the door for generic drugmakers Hikma and Dr. Reddy’s to launch cheaper versions of the pill, which is an omega-3 oil used to lower fat levels in the bloodstream. A U.S. Circuit Court affirmed the decision in September 2020. Amarin then appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately declined to hear the case.
With the loss of patent protection for its sole product, Amarin’s revenues slid 4% last year to $580.3 million from the prior year’s take of $607 million. In the first quarter of this year, Hikma and Dr. Reddy’s were joined by a third generic entrant, prompting Vascepa sales to nosedive 33% compared to the prior-year period.
Meanwhile, the firm says it’s leaving itself a core team able to support branded revenues for the pill and relying more on a previously disclosed digital omnichannel effort as it diverts resources toward a number of planned launches overseas.
Other cost-cutting moves include trimming its selling, general and administrative expenses, as well as savings related to refining the company’s R&D strategy.