There’s more bad news for the antibiotics R&D field Thursday evening.
A few weeks after the FDA green-lighted Achaogen’s $AKAO antibiotic Zemdri (plazomicin) for urinary tract infections but shunted aside their application on bloodstream infections, the biotech is laying off rank-and-file researchers and letting go its top research execs.
Altogether the company says it is cutting 80 jobs — 28% of the staff — as it chops spending on early-stage research and development, technical operations and general and administrative expenses.
Ken Hillan, president R&D, will leave in mid-October, while CSO Lee Swem will depart a few weeks earlier.
Research will be narrowed to focus on C-Scape, an oral beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitor combination, and new aminoglycoside antibiotics, which can count on some non-dilutive funding commitments to continue the work. The main task at Achaogen will be commercializing their approved product while hunting a European OK to expand that work.
For the past 10 years public health officials have been raising a hue and cry for new antibiotics as old standards struggle against a rising tide of drug resistance. But the bulk of the need can still be met with cheap standby therapies, making it hard to profit by them. As a result, Big Pharma bowed out largely, underscored by Novartis’ recent decision to join the exodus out of the field. AstraZeneca and others had done it years ago.
The best place to read Endpoints News? In your inbox.
Comprehensive daily news report for those who discover, develop, and market drugs. Join 37,500+ biopharma pros who read Endpoints News by email every day.Free Subscription