Issue Date: November 10, 2008
Biotech Firms Cut Staff
Citing factors ranging from the difficult financial climate to the need to cut spending, four biopharmaceutical firms have announced reorganizations involving staff cuts. Avigen is restructuring to preserve cash and focus resources on two drug candidates—AV411, a treatment for neuropathic pain in clinical trials, and AV513, a treatment for bleeding disorders in preclinical studies. The company, which is seeking partners for both candidates, says it will terminate 70% of its workforce, or about 25 employees. BioCryst Pharmaceuticals has implemented a 20% reduction in its staff of about 100. The firm is experiencing a reduction in revenue from the Department of Health & Human Services for the development of peramivir, its experimental flu drug. CombinatoRx says it is reducing its workforce by 45%—about 50 positions—as part of a restructuring aimed at focusing on key prospects including Synavive, which is in Phase IIb studies for the treatment of knee arthritis. And A. P. Pharma reports that it is eliminating 18 positions, about 35% of its workforce. It cites the financial market and economic deterioration, and the need to focus resources on APF530, a treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea.
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