- In an effort to redirect resources, Endo International is nixing a pain medication licensing agreement and, in doing so, eliminating hundreds of sales jobs.
- Endo announced the decision on Thursday, stating that once it returned the rights to opioid-based drug Belbuca (buprenorphine), it wouldn't need a sales force to market the rest of its well-established pain relief portfolio. As such, the company is axing 375 full-time, contracted and internal support positions.
- The Irish biopharma said the decision will help restructure its U.S. branded drug operations, and expects the cuts and portfolio refocusing to curb 2017 expenses by $162 million.
Endo plans to pump the money and resources saved from the fizzled agreement into its U.S. branded assets, with particular emphasis on the biologic drug Xiaflex.
The stronger focus on branded drugs comes at a time when Endo is facing obstacles with its generic drug business. In its most recent earnings call, CEO Paul Campanelli said competition and a difficult pricing environment caused generic sales to drop 5% from the previous quarter.
Endo first acquired the rights to sell Belbuca from BioDelivery Sciences International in 2012. The Raleigh, N.C.-based drug maker, which specializes in pain relief and oncology products, took home a $30 million upfront payment from the deal, and stood to gain up to $150 million more if it hit certain milestones. BioDelivery Sciences was also eligible for mid- to high-teen royalties on U.S. sales of the drug.
While Endo did not disclose specific financial implications of its severed agreement in a Dec. 8 statement, the company did say it would no longer compensate its former partner with royalty or milestone payments.
"Since we entered into our licensing and development agreement with BDSI in 2012, the opioid market and Endo's strategic priorities have evolved," Campanelli said in the statement. "While we continue to believe Belbuca is a differentiated asset, the product no longer aligns with Endo's U.S. Branded segment strategy and our focus on core assets, including Xiaflex, moving forward."
Xiaflex works to break down collagen, and is approved in Australia, Canada, Europe and the U.S. to treat adult Dupuytren's contracture and Peyronie's disease. Endo is currently trying to get Xiaflex approved for another indication, cellulite reduction, and revealed positive results from a Phase 2 trial testing it for that condition in late September.
Campanelli said that his company plans to give further updates on corporate strategy and product development during its fourth quarter and year-end earnings presentation, which is slated for February.