Juniper rushes to save costs with job cuts
- Boston-based women's health company Juniper Pharmaceuticals is narrowing its focus to its two core businesses, Crinone progesterone gel and Juniper Pharma Services (JPS), trimming down its pipeline, and looking to license out non-core assets, with the aim of being cash-neutral in 2018.
- The restructuring will also include an 8% reduction in headcount, about 10 to 12 employees, mostly within new product R&D.
- It will save around $1.9 million starting from 2018. The company will incur one-time costs of $600,000 to $700,000. The CMO, Bridget Martell, will also step down, effective immediately.
As reported in its second quarter 2017 results, Juniper Pharmaceuticals had cash and cash equivalents of just $21.5 million. Since then, its stock value has fallen by 10% to $4.40, not far off its one-year low of $3.65. However, it reported increases of around 30% in both its Crinone revenues and its Juniper Pharma Services, and this strategic reorganization is playing on these strengths.
Crinone is partnered with Merck KGaA for markets outside the U.S., and Juniper expects continued growth driven by additional launches, and increases in supply chain capacity.
"We have doubled the amount of Crinone we have produced for our partner Merck KGaA in the past four years, and are committed to ensuring that we are well-positioned to meet the growing demand for this product," said Alicia Secor, Juniper's president and CEO.
Juniper also plans to continue investments in Juniper Pharma Services, placing itself as a "trusted and expert" provider for the development of challenging and complex molecules, meeting the growing need for outsourcing.
Juniper Pharmaceuticals' new, sleeker pipeline will focus on JNP-0201, a two-segment intravaginal ring (IVR) delivering hormone replacement therapy combining estradiol and natural progesterone. Juniper plans to keep this in house, with an investigational new drug (IND) filing planned for 2018. It sees this as the likeliest product for a return on investment.
"The current FDA guidance around the clinical and regulatory pathway for the development of JNP-0201 as a hormone replacement therapy is clearly defined and provides a strong rationale for prioritizing this program," said Secor.
Other projects will be partnered or divested, following completion of in vivo studies. Following a Type C meeting with the Food and Drug Administration, Juniper has decided that it will require a partner for the development and commercialization of JNP-0301, its natural progesterone IVR in preclinical development for the prevention of preterm birth in women with short cervical length at mid-pregnancy, a strong indicator of risk. There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for this indication. Preclinical development of JNP-0101, an oxybutynin IVR with potential for the treatment of overactive bladder in women, has been suspended and Juniper will seek a partner for the compound.
"This initiative streamlines expenses and provides us with financial flexibility as we assess growth opportunities to advance our strategy," said Secor.
- Juniper Pharmaceuticals Statement
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