Santarus cuts 120 jobs, focuses on Phase III

San Diego-based Santarus is laying off 120 employees, or 37 percent of its staff. Santarus previously inked a deal with Prasco for an authorized generic of prescription Zegerid, a treatment for certain upper gastrointestinal diseases and disorders. The generic launch spells the end of Santarus' promotion of the drug, and the company is restructuring its commercial and other operations. It's also slashing its contract sales rep staff, keeping 110 reps to promote Glumetza for Type 2 diabetes.

Santarus will redirect its resources to developing budesonide MMX and rifamycin SV MMX, two lower GI product candidates in Phase III trials. CEO Gerald Proehl adds the company is also increasing efforts to acquire or license additional specialty pharmaceutical products. Santarus says expenses will be reduced by approximately $40 million annually beginning in the 2010 fourth quarter as a result of the corporate restructuring and workforce reduction.

- here's Santarus' release