- ImmunoGen said Thursday it will make deep cuts to its workforce and pipeline in order to fund another Phase 3 study for mirvetuximab, the biotech's most advanced experimental cancer drug that failed a late-stage study earlier this year.
- The company will lay off 220 employees, or roughly 75% of its workforce. Additionally, the biotech plans to sell or out-license the rest of its pipeline besides mirvetuximab and three other compounds, as it narrows research efforts to those four drugs.
- As part of the plan, approved Wednesday by ImmunoGen's board, three executives will also depart within a year, including the chief scientific officer and chief business officer. With the shrunken workforce, ImmunoGen will look to sub-lease space at its Waltham, Massachusetts, office and dispose of excess lab equipment.
ImmunoGen expects the restructuring to cut its expenses in half, allowing the biotech to stretch its $240 million in cash and equivalents to fund the business for three more years.
The plan is a bigger bet on mirvetuximab after the antibody-drug conjugate failed a late-stage study that derailed hopes for its regulatory submission in 2019.
The previous study, called ANNOUNCE-1, failed to achieve the primary goal of improving progression-free survival among both the total population as well as a pre-specified subgroup with high protein expression levels. Investors were dismayed, as the stock dropped 50% after the trial results were released.
But ImmunoGen execs have since talked up what they claim to be an efficacy signal observed in a later analysis among those high expressors, leading to plans for another trial focused on that subgroup. The company intends to kick off the study by year's end, setting up a potential readout for the first half of 2022.
In order to carry out the study, the biotech will pare down its ambitions. The shake-up will leave less than 80 employees, the smallest workforce at ImmunoGen since 2001, according to company filings.
This isn't the first round of layoffs in ImmunoGen's recent history. The company cut about 60 workers in a September 2016 restructuring. And earlier this year, it shut down a manufacturing plant in Norwood, Rhode Island, which also led to a reduction of 20 jobs.
The biotech will also reshuffle its top ranks over the next eight months. Richard Gregory, chief scientific officer, will leave Aug. 30; Blaine McKee, chief business officer, will depart Dec. 3; and Craig Barrows, general counsel and secretary, will exit at the end of February 2020.
ImmunoGen's stock opened Thursday down 6%, trading under $2 per share — its lowest value in more than two years.