Astellas to shrink Oklahoma payroll

The so-called "patent cliff" isn't just hurting the biggest pharma companies--or pushing them to downsize. Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma, facing the expiration of its Flomax drug patent, is offering early retirement and "voluntary termination" to its 200-strong workforce in Norman, Oklahoma. That's where Flomax is produced, and the company expects volume at that plant to fall so sharply that it won't need nearly as many workers.

The program is aimed at cutting the Norman payroll by about 30 percent, or 60 workers. Other products made there include VESIcare, a bladder-control medication, and another product solely for the Japanese market, Gaster D.

- read the story in The Oklahoman