Biovail set to hire reps for new U.S. force

While many drugmakers are cutting back their sales forces and farming out marketing to contractors, Biovail is going in the opposite direction. Five years after disbanding its U.S. sales operation, CTV reports, the Canadian drugmaker is plotting a brand-new sales group. In other words, it's hiring.

In fact, Biovail will staff up with some 100 in-house reps starting this year, with plans to add as many 150 more as time goes on. The new group will be charged with selling the company's products for nervous-system disorders to both hospitals and doctors. "This is the next big strategic step for the company," CEO Bill Wells told CTV. Creating the new sales group is expected to cost some $20 million this year and up to $70 million in 2011.

The impetus behind this new strategy is the company's recent deal to buy rights to an Alexza Pharmaceuticals drug designed to treat agitation in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It's not yet approved, but the company is building its sales organization in advance of a launch. The group will handle other Biovail CNS drugs as well. "We're very aware of the fact that we need a second and a third [product] in the bag of the sales person," Wells said.

- read the CTV story