- BioMarin Pharmaceutical plans to lay off roughly 120 employees, or 4% of its global workforce, as part of a larger restructuring effort announced Thursday.
- The California-based drugmaker, which built a business around medicines for exceedingly rare diseases, said the reorganization will reflect its transition into a global, large-scale biopharmaceutical company with a more diverse array of products.
- Recently, BioMarin secured approvals for two drugs that treat less rare genetic conditions. One, Voxzogo, is now cleared in the U.S. for children with achondroplasia, a common cause of dwarfism. The other, a gene therapy called Roctavian, was authorized in Europe this summer for certain patients with severe hemophilia A. Hoping to sell Roctavian in the U.S. as well, BioMarin last month resubmitted an approval application to the Food and Drug Administration.
In bringing eight drugs to market, BioMarin achieved what few independent biotechnology companies have.
Yet, almost every year since its founding in the late 1990s, BioMarin has recorded a net annual loss. Most of its products target relatively small numbers of patients, a factor that can limit sales. Over the first six months of this year, for example, just two of the company’s drugs generated more than $117 million in net revenue.
BioMarin now believes it’s in a transitional period, marked by the recent launches of Voxzogo in the U.S. and Roctavian in Europe. And as it prepares for the potential FDA approval of Roctavian, the company has concluded that changes must be made.
“Change is necessary to fulfill our commitment to operating the business in the best interest of our patients, shareholders, and other stakeholders,” BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaimé said in a statement. “This requires that our organization is the right size, has the right structure, and has the right focus to operate with maximum effectiveness and efficiency."
The company said the new structure will help to “better focus” research and development investments as well as “maximize” the success of recent product launches. It will also be simpler, according to BioMarin, and have fewer “average management layers” across the organization.
One way the company intends to improve efficiency — and lower expenses — is by reducing its headcount. BioMarin estimates that the layoffs will result in roughly $50 million worth of annual financial savings starting next year.
BioMarin said the layoffs will primarily affect U.S. employees and that they will mostly be completed by the end of 2022. The company expects to incur approximately $20 million to $25 million in expenses related to severance and employee termination benefits across the back half of this year.
Shares of BioMarin slipped to about $89 apiece Friday morning, down about 3% from the prior day’s closing price.