Lundbeck has laid out details of a new R&D strategy which will seen the Danish drugmaker focus more on external collaborations but cut its own staff.

The company states that it will continue to focus on brain diseases but its research activities will be "increasingly based on the relationships between the biology of a disease and its symptoms." It goes on to say that over the last few years, research has made it possible to develop drugs "that affect the underlying mechanisms of a disease, and thus not only treat symptoms more effectively but also alter the course of the disease".

Lundbeck added that the new strategy will provide a platform to discover drugs with "clearly documented effects on biologically defined patient groups". Research will concentrate on three main areas of biology, neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation and synaptic transmission, areas which are relevant to a wide range of brain disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases.

To achieve this, Lundbeck is looking at increased external cooperation with universities and other biotech and pharma companies so it will gain "the best possible access to the latest discoveries in fields relevant to the company's R&D activities. Head of research Peter Hongaard Andersen said that "partnerships make drug development more efficient, and we therefore expect to engage in even more of these activities in the future".

No cut in R&D budget

These partnerships will cost money so Lundbeck says it is reorganising activities at its two research centres in Denmark and the USA, which will lead to the loss of 50 jobs. However, the Copenhagen-based firm stressed that its R&D budget, which is over 20% of turnover, will not be reduced, but a greater proportion will be placed outside the company.