Some 20% of the workforce at NeuroSearch are to lose their jobs after the Danish company announced a major restructuring.

NeuroSearch says the reorganisation is needed to "ensure that optimal resources are placed behind Huntexil (pridopidine)", its investigational treatment for Huntington’s disease which has impressed in a large Phase II/III programme. Plans are in place to discuss the existing data package with US and European regulatory authorities in the first half of 2011.

Also, the Ballerup, Copenhagen-based company's drug discovery activities will be organised in a new division, NsDiscovery. Its current collaboration alliances with Eli Lilly and Janssen as well as a licence agreement with Abbott Laboratories will be managed by that unit. 

NeuroSearch chief executive Patrik Dahlen said "I regret that as part of our effort to conserve cash we expect to reduce the number of our highly skilled and dedicated" employees. The firm's website states that it has 240 staff at the moment.

The restructuring is expected to reduce the annual cost base by 100 million Danish kroner, about $17.4 million, with full effect from 2012. Mr Dahlen concluded that the re-organisation of NeuroSearch into "two separate business units with individual business models will enable us to make better use of our resources in support of our corporate strategy", ie to become a profitable speciality pharma company focused on diseases of the central nervous system.