Finnish drugmaker Orion says that it is cutting 205 jobs as it prepares for patent expiries on its two best-selling drugs, the Parkinson's disease treatments Stalevo and Comtess/Comtan.

The company said that it has concluded negotiations with personnel representatives in Finland and 175 employees will be given notice, with 30 posts will be terminated through retirement and so on. The reductions, which were originally expected to be up to 300 jobs, will be implemented in the first half of 2009.

Half of the job losses will be at Orion’s headquarters in Espoo and the firm said that it will take a charge of about 3.9 million euros which will be booked for the fourth quarter.

Orion said that by introducing “a more flexible operational model and cost structure for its pharmaceutical R&D”, the group is “ensuring its prerequisites of doing business as well as its competitiveness” after “the expiry of the basic patents protecting its most important products”. Both Stalevo (carbidopa, levodopa and entacapone) and Comtan (entacapone) are the subject of patent challenges, most notably by India’s Wockhardt.

Orion concluded by saying that it will increase its early-phase R&D collaborations with universities and other pharmaceutical companies, which will reduce the cost burden.