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Bob Bradway, Amgen CEO (Justin Kase Conder/AP Images for Amgen)

Am­gen cites in­fla­tion, pres­sure on drug prices in 450-per­son lay­off

Amgen is laying off about 450 workers, the company told Endpoints News, just two months after letting go 300 staffers.

A spokesperson said the layoffs impact less than 2% of the California biopharma’s total headcount, which was about 24,000 workers, per a JP Morgan Healthcare Conference presentation in January.

“We made these changes to realign our expense base in the face of intensifying pressure on drug prices and high levels of inflation so that we can continue to deliver value for our patients, staff and shareholders,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Endpoints Thursday after the markets closed, noting the affected people will be offered severance and transition services.

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Steven Favaloro, incoming Genezen CEO (L) and Mark Womack, incoming BioCina CEO

Con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ers BioCi­na and Genezen name new CEOs

A pair of CDMOs are bringing in new CEOs.

Taking the helm at BioCina is Mark Womack. According to his LinkedIn profile, Womack has been in leadership positions at several contract manufacturers. His career spans more than 30 years, including roles such as CEO of the contract manufacturer KBI Biopharma and Selexis SA. Before that, he was CEO of Stelis Biopharma and chief business officer of Seattle-based manufacturer AGC Biologics.

Oral vac­cine play­er lays off 27% of staff as it shelves Covid work

After spending much of the past few years touting its experimental Covid-19 vaccine pill, Vaxart is pulling back and shelving all further trials.

It has laid off 27% of its staff, which was 164 employees at the end of 2022, in a bid to preserve cash and is prioritizing the norovirus program moving forward. The move is expected to extend its cash runway into mid-2024.

News of layoffs has dominated biotech headlines in recent months as execs, facing a funding crunch, look for ways to make their money last longer. Endpoints News‘ Kyle LaHucik first reported Vaxart’s reduction in headcount in March, although the biotech declined to detail the numbers back then.

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Christophe Bourdon, Leo Pharma CEO

Fur­ther shuf­fling at Leo Phar­ma as der­ma­tol­ogy drug­mak­er splits R&D

Danish dermatology drugmaker Leo Pharma said it will split its R&D operations into two separate teams.

The company had about 6,000 employees in early 2022 but, at the time, said it would eliminate 1,000 positions in two years. Then, this January, Leo said it would further reduce headcount by about 300 positions in a rehashing of its sourcing model to emphasize external help in finding orals, topicals and biologics. Leo now says it employs 4,700 people worldwide.

Emma Walmsley, GSK CEO

GSK chief Em­ma Walm­s­ley sees pay raise amid 'land­mark' year

GSK chief Emma Walmsley saw a slight pay raise amid what she called a “landmark year” for the company, including the spinout of its consumer health unit Haleon.

The CEO took home roughly £8.45 million in 2022 (nearly $10.3 million), up from £8.2 million the year prior. That includes a £37,000 salary boost and an added £868,000 in bonus money compared to 2021, according to a recent report.

However, her pay package continues to lag behind other pharma chiefs, including fellow UK-based AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, whose pay package totaled £15.3 million (more than $18.6 million) in 2022. American pharma chiefs tend to take home heftier pay packages, such as AbbVie CEO Rick Gonzalez, who brought in $26.2 million.

Jami Rubin, departing EQRx CFO

For­mer long­time an­a­lyst Ja­mi Ru­bin re­signs from EQRx's CFO role

Jami Rubin is leaving her position as CFO of EQRx, the company disclosed in an SEC filing Monday morning.

Rubin informed EQRx of her decision last Wednesday and will leave the biotech at the end of March. The filing noted Rubin will “contemplate new endeavors” and that the departure isn’t related to “a disagreement with EQRx on any matter relating to EQRx’s operations, policies or practices.”

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Carl Icahn (Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Up­dat­ed: Carl Ic­ahn pro­pos­es three new Il­lu­mi­na board mem­bers in proxy fight

A proxy fight is brewing at Illumina as activist investor Carl Icahn argues that the DNA sequencing giant is costing shareholders billions by following through with its Grail purchase amid antirust challenges.

In a letter to Illumina shareholders on Monday morning, Icahn stated that $50 billion of value has been wiped from the company’s market capitalization since August 2021.

“This value destruction is a direct result of a series of ill-advised (and frankly inexplicable) actions taken by the board of directors of our company in connection with the acquisition of GRAIL, Inc.,” Icahn wrote. “To paraphrase William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, something is rotten in the state of Illumina.”

Ole­ma On­col­o­gy to cut 25% of staff, says it will fo­cus on late-stage pipeline

Olema Oncology will let go of a quarter of its workforce, as well as two top executives, as the biotech works to keep alive work on an experimental breast cancer drug that has so far been a disappointment.

The cuts will affect workers in R&D and corporate functions, the company said in a press release Thursday. Also out are CBO Kinney Horn and Cyrus Harmon, a co-founder of the company and its chief research officer. Harmon will stay as a member of the board. The company had 83 full-time employees as of Jan. 31, according to a financial filing.

UMass med­ical school’s man­u­fac­tur­ing unit lays off 26 em­ploy­ees

More than two dozen employees in manufacturing and administrative roles at UMass Chan Medical School will be let go in late April.

The university’s MassBiologics unit notified 26 employees recently. Affected employees will receive severance and be offered outplacement services, a spokesperson said to Endpoints News in an emailed statement. The employees can apply for open positions elsewhere in the medical school, the spokesperson added.

Co­herus Bio­Sciences lays off 20% of staff, while an­timi­cro­bial biotech makes deep­er cuts

More layoffs have hit the biotech industry this week, with Coherus BioSciences saying it let go about 60 employees and an antimicrobial drug developer parting ways with 30% of its staff.

The layoffs at Coherus, an immuno-oncology biotech and maker of biosimilars, equate to roughly 20% of the 359 full-time and part-time employees it had at the end of 2022, all based in the US. The Redwood City, CA biotech disclosed the news in its quarterly update. In an SEC filing, Coherus said most of the layoffs would go into effect on Friday.

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