- Netherlands gene therapy provider UniQure expects to save up to €21 million ($22.5 million) in 2017 through cutting jobs and tailoring its pipeline to focus mainly on three therapeutic areas: hemophilia B, Huntington's disease and cardiovascular illness.
- The company also plans to quit talks with French life sciences foundation Pasteur Institute about a licensing deal for its drug AMT-110, which is designed treat the metabolic disorder Sanfilippo B. What's more, it will be looking for collaborators to help develop its Parkinson's disease program.
- The shake up comes on the heels of a strategic review UniQure initiated early this spring, though the company has been in transition for much of the past year — with two new CEOs since last December.
By the numbers, UniQure plans to cut between 50 and 60 positions, which represents 20% to 25% of its workforce, before 2018. That could save the company as much as $6.44 million, while pipeline consolidation would save an additional $16.1 million, according to a statement released Tuesday.
Much of the company's attention and resources will go toward advancing its hemophilia B drug AMT-060, the Huntington's disease drug AMT-130 and a congestive heart failure drug S100A1 it is co-developing with Bristol-Myers Squibb. AMT-060 is in a Phase 1/2 trial, while all other UniQure products are preclinical.
"Further details on how we expect to position our hemophilia program will be provided after we have met with regulatory authorities early next year to discuss our plans for a pivotal study," Philip Astley-Sparke, the chairman of UniQure's board of directors, said in the Nov. 15 statement.
"We will further direct capital into programs that we believe will create near-term value, as well as continue to leverage our core assets, including next-generation vector development and best-in-class manufacturing capabilities," he said.
UniQure reported about $177 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30, and expects cost-cutting measures coupled with that on-hand capital will keep operations going into 2019.