Germany's Evotec has announced job cuts as part of a bid to significantly reduce its costs, while looking for partners for its R&D programmes.

The Hamburg-headquartered company is reduce its headcount immediately by 50 positions which will bring its workforce to just below 370, with the cuts taking place across the entire organisation in the USA, UK and Germany. The job losses are allied to a planned 10% reduction in selling, general and administrative expenses, plus a more-than-30% decline in R&D spending.

News of the restructuring came as Evotec posted a revenue rise of 20% for 2008 to 39.6 million euros. Operating loss was up 26% to 73.2 million euros, while the firm’s R&D spend climbed 15% to 42.5 million euros.

Evotec ended last year with cash and equivalents of 92.4 million euros and says that this should be sufficient to fund operations “comfortably” over more than three years. Nevertheless, it is faced with “two significant challenges”, says chief executive Werner Lanthaler.

The first of these has been “the failure to deliver on the partnership of our insomnia drug candidate EVT 201”, he said, as well as “an unsustainable high cost base in the organisation”. As a result, Evotec said it will “make more projects available for strategic partnering”.

Despite failing to secure a deal for the insomnia drug, “many of the current Evotec projects find high interest within the pharmaceutical industry”, the company said. It will also “expand its indication focus to neuroscience, pain and inflammation”, and keep “the opportunity and core competences to develop at least one of its pipeline products to the market”.

That pipeline includes EVT 302 for smoking cessation, which is in Phase II, as is EVT 101 for use in treatment resistant depression, which was recently partnered with Roche. Evotec is also working on a P2X7 antagonist for rheumatoid arthritis, which is in Phase I.