Spectrum Pharmaceuticals will lay off 75% of its research and development staff following the Food and Drug Administration’s rejection of the company’s cancer drug candidate poziotinib.
Spectrum revealed the rejection in a Friday statement, indicating it would “immediately” discontinue investment into poziotinib.
The drug was developed by Spectrum to treat a certain form of non-small cell cancer. In September, the FDA held an advisory committee to review the company’s approval application, resulting in a 9-4 vote against the drug as the advisers judged its risks outweighed its benefits.
“While we are not surprised by the CRL given the ODAC recommendation in September, we are disappointed,” said Spectrum CEO Tom Riga, referring in the company’s statement to the Oncologic Drugs Advisory committee’s full name. “After multiple interactions with the FDA since ODAC, and following careful consideration, we have made the strategic decision to immediately de-prioritize the poziotinib program.”
Riga added that Spectrum will explore “potential strategic alternatives” for the drug, such as partnerships or other business development opportunities.
As a result of the layoffs and associated cost cutting, Spectrum estimates it will have enough capital to sustain operations through 2024.
Moving forward, Spectrum will focus its efforts on its other drug Rolvedon, an injection for patients taking myelosuppressive cancer drugs who have fevers and lower-than-normal counts of infection-fighting white blood cells. Rolvedon gained FDA approval in September and was recently made commercially available by the company.
Spectrum is one of many biotechnology company that have been forced to cut staff in 2022 as the industry is pressured by more limited funding options than in previous years.