Altana has announced 400 job cuts at its pharmaceutical business, but insists the move is unrelated to the pending takeover of the unit by Danish drugmaker Nycomed.

The move comes after delays to the approval of two of the German company’s key pipeline projects – Daxas (roflumilast) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma treatment Alvesco (ciclesonide) – in the US market.

The reductions will mainly affect the USA, with most of the workers going from Altana Pharma, the company’s US headquarters in Florham Park, New Jersey. The marketing and sales organisation at Altana Pharma will be ‘dismantled’, said the company, although clinical development and regulatory functions will be retained.

Altana has also said it will close a research facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, but would retain another unit, Altana Inc, located in Melville, Long Island.

Nycomed has emerged offered 4.5 billion euros ($5.7bn) for Altana’s pharma business, which has been in the process of being separated out from Altana chemicals as it was considered too small to compete in the global arena.