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Amylin Drops 200 Sales Reps

Amylin Pharmaceuticals
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Biotech firm Amylin, on Monday, announced that it would trim its sales force by 200, or about 35 percent of its total. The move is expected to save the company about $65 million by 2010, and comes on the heels of an announcement that the company asked FDA to consider a once-weekly injectable version of its Type 2 diabetes drug Byetta (exenatide).

According to the Amylin, the layoffs are part of a new restructuring plan that will merge its primary care and specialty units into one 325-person team targeting endocrinologists and other physicians that treat significant numbers of diabetes patients.

Amylin partnered with Eli Lilly in 2002 develop and commercialize the original version of the diabetes drug Byetta (exenatide). Lilly will handle the bulk of the primary care marketing of the drug in wake of the restructuring plan.

“These changes build on Amylin’s scientific strength, and leverage Lilly’s expertise and reach with primary care prescribers, so that we are well positioned to address the information needs of the complex diabetes market,” stated president and CEO Daniel M. Bradbury in a release. “[These] actions are in line with our stated goal of achieving positive operating cash flow by the end of 2010.”

The diabetes market has been swept by with safety concerns since GlaxoSmithKline’s treatment Avandia was found to increase the risk of heart attack. FDA, last year, issued new safety guidelines in reaction to these reports and Amylin is awaiting a decision from the agency as to whether Byetta will receive additional warnings, up to and including a black box warning.

Amylin said that it expects its operating expenses to be in the range of $600 to $625 million this year, and its operating loss will be between $175 and $200 million. This figure does not include a restructuring charge, expected to be about $15 million for severance packages.

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