Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said that it is eliminating 479 jobs as its partner Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. takes over U.S. marketing of the schizophrenia drug Abilify.
Bristol-Myers said it is eliminating all sales and medical representative positions connected to Abilify. Otsuka will take responsibility for all promotion and medical activities, and field sales and medical activities will start transitioning to the Japanese drugmaker starting Jan. 1. Bristol-Myers said the change will allow it to focus on other areas.
"The revised agreement allows BMS to simplify operations, improve its efficiency while also better positioning itself to focus on important work in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hepatitis and immunoscience, areas of significant unmet medical need that are critical to our long-term success," Bristol-Myers said in response to media inquiries.
The company said it will stay involved with other aspects of Abilify manufacturing and distribution in the U.S. and other markets.
Abilify is approved as a treatment for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. In the third quarter of 2012, U.S. sales of the drug fell 1 percent to $502 million and worldwide revenue slipped 2 percent to $676 million.
Shares of Bristol-Myers rose 21 cents to $33.30 in afternoon trading. They have traded in a 52-week range of $30.10 to $36.34.