Sector News

Medivir cuts 30 jobs to focus on oncology

October 12, 2016
Life sciences

Medivir is taking the ax to its R&D team, putting 30 people out of work and narrowing its drug development focus on oncology. The reorganization represents a retreat from early-stage research and infectious diseases, areas Medivir is willing to back away from to save SEK 110 million ($12.5 million) a year.

Stockholm, Sweden-based Medivir made its name developing hepatitis C drug Olysio with Johnson and Johnson ($JNJ), but the fast evolution of that sector has hamstrung both companies’ ambitions.

Now, Medivir is getting out of the infectious disease sector altogether. The plan is to start looking for partners for its remaining infectious disease programs by the end of the year, and begin shopping osteoarthritis asset MIV-711 once a Phase IIa is complete. Only oncology assets will survive the cull. In parallel, Medivir is cutting into its early-stage research operation in an attempt to save itself SEK 60 million a year.

“I believe this reduced cost in early research, and a streamlined therapeutic area focus with a smaller and more cost effective organization, will strengthen Medivir´s position as an efficient oncology company with a growing development pipeline. Medivir´s ambition is to have a well balanced and broad pipeline from early to late stages of development,” Medivir CEO Niklas Prager said in a statement.

For now, Medivir is a long way from having a broad pipeline. Medivir’s publicly disclosed pipeline features one cancer program, a discovery-stage nucleotide DNA polymerase inhibitor it is developing to treat hepatocellular carcinoma. But, with Medivir presenting the reorganization as a way to bolster its development capabilities and pipeline of clinical-stage oncology assets, it appears to have plans to expand its slate of programs.

The cuts are the latest event in a rolling reorganization that has occupied Medivir for the past 18 months. In June 2015, Medivir narrowed its research focus on to infectious disease and oncology, shedding a neuropathic pain program and 10 researchers in the process.

The upheaval continued in October, when Medivir merged its research and development units. That action led to the departure of development chief Charlotte Edenius, who became the fifth senior executive to leave in 2015. Medivir also lost its EVPs of finance, corporate and business development and investor relations earlier in the year.

Medivir closed out 2015 by scrapping its collaboration with Cancer Research Technology and revealing J&J had canned development of a hepatitis C drug. J&J’s decision ended Medivir’s hopes of generating further revenues from the agreement.

Since then, Medivir has committed to splitting in two. The reorganization will create a business to sell Medivir’s portfolio of commercial products and a biotech to reboot its fast-thinning pipeline.

By Nick Paul Taylor

Source: Fierce Biotech

comments closed

Related News

May 15, 2022

Novo Nordisk and Flagship Pioneering announce a strategic collaboration to create a portfolio of transformational medicines

Life sciences

The companies will explore opportunities to apply Flagship’s innovative bioplatforms – an ecosystem that currently comprises 41 companies – to scientific challenges in disease areas within cardiometabolic and rare diseases and initiate research programmes based on these.

May 15, 2022

BD, Babson set sights on bringing simple blood collection into the home

Life sciences

BD is expanding its long-running partnership with the blood collection company Babson Diagnostics. The two companies have been working together since 2019 on a device that can gather small volumes of blood from the capillaries in the fingertip without requiring any specialized training, and beginning with a focus on supporting primary care in retail settings.

May 15, 2022

CSL’s $11.7B Vifor buy, 2021’s biggest biopharma M&A deal, hits antitrust delay

Life sciences

Wednesday, Australian biotech CSL said (PDF) the regulatory review of its $11.7 billion acquisition of Switzerland’s Vifor Pharma will take “a few more months,” suggesting it won’t be able to close the transaction by June 2022 as previously expected.