Progenics Makes Further Job Cuts

Progenics Pharmaceuticals are laying off more than a quarter of their workforce after failing to gain extended approval for their constipation drug, Relistor.

The organisation noted that they are ending several early-stage research projects in order to concentrate on their cancer programmes, in particular a Phase II study of PSMA ADC, a human monoclonal antibody-drug conjugate in prostate cancer.

77 employees will lose their jobs, which accounts for roughly 26% of the workforce, and Progenics commented that the restructuring is expected to decrease annual expenditure by $8 million.  The chief financial officer, Robert McKinney, and senior vice president, Benedict Osorio, will be stepping down on September 30th.

The job losses shadow a complete response letter issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July this year, related to a supplemental New Drug Application for use of subcutaneous Relistor in patients with chronic, non-cancer pain.

Under the terms of the partnership with Salix, Progenics are eligible for a $40 million milestone upon regulatory approval of the drug for this indication; Relistor is already on the market opioid-induced constipation in patients in advanced illness.

Just over a year ago, Progenics announced another reorganisation which led to the loss of 38 jobs as a result of the termination of their manufacturing facility.  They also stopped their research work in virology and infectious diseases.

Mark Baker, chief executive of Progenics, commented that the latest move “reflects our commitment to strategic goals we announced a year ago, when we directed our resources toward addressing the growing need for novel and improved cancer therapies.”  Baker added that “our top clinical priority remains advancing PSMA ADC, while continuing to evaluate strategic in-licensing opportunities.”

Mr Baker concluded that “while I believe this restructuring is the right next step…it is difficult to part with colleagues who have made significant contributions.”


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