Daiichi Sankyo said it expects to eliminate about one-third of its U.S. workforce—1,000 to 1,200 positions nationwide—as part of a reorganization designed to cut costs and better support its portfolio of specialty drugs for indications that include cardiovascular, pain management, and oncology.

In a statement, Daiichi Sankyo cited the upcoming loss of patent protection for its top-selling drug, the angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) Benicar® for hypertension. Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) was launched in the U.S. in 2002, followed a year later by BenicarHCT® (olmesartan omedoxomil hydrochlorothiazide).

The Benicar drugs generated ¥293.6 billion (about $2.5 billion) in global sales in the fiscal year that ended March 31, of which ¥ 106.6 billion ($892.4 million) came from the U.S., according to the company’s IR Report 2015 covering FY2014.

“As we face the loss of exclusivity in the coming year of our largest product, we also look ahead to great opportunities with our emerging portfolio in cardiology, oncology, fibromyalgia and pain relief,” stated Ken Keller, president of Daiichi Sankyo’s U.S. commercial operations. “This calls for us to restructure our organization into a smaller, highly targeted and efficient operating model, with a greater emphasis on customer-facing roles.”

Daiichi Sankyo said it would reduce its headcount “through voluntary and involuntary displacements as well as eliminating open positions.”

Daiichi Sankyo finished its most recent fiscal year ending March 31 with 16,428 employees worldwide, including 3,300 based in the U.S., according to the IR Report 2015. Three months later in its results for the three months ending June 30, the company reported a total global workforce of 16,460, but a slightly lower “North America” workforce of 3,285. Both numbers are lower than those reported by the company in June 2014 of 17,362 employees globally, 3,514 in North America.

Eliminated will be jobs based at Daiichi Sankyo’s U.S. commercial home office in Parsippany, NJ, as well as field-based sales and other positions nationwide. The company said its reorganization will not affect U.S.-based R&D functions, which have staff concentrated in Edison, NJ, or a packaging plant in Bethlehem, PA.

“While this initiative will place us on the path toward long-term success, it does require us to make some difficult decisions,” Keller said.

He also cited the ongoing overhaul of healthcare in the U.S., which it said will place a greater emphasis on managing the needs of patients with more complex healthcare needs.

“As a specialty company, we will be positioned to meet those needs and invest in advancing technologies that will make a significant difference in patient lives,” Keller added.

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