Eli Lilly axes 163 Dermira staffers, shutters Menlo Park site as it closes in around Dupixent rival lebrikizumab
Eli Lilly made it clear when it shelled out $1.1 billion for Dermira that lebrikizumab is really what it wanted to buy. One year in, the pharma giant is completing its cleavage of the rest.
Days after unveiling the sale of Qbexza — Dermira’s only approved product, a piece of cloth to block excessive sweating — Lilly revealed plans to close down the biotech’s Menlo Park facility, putting 163 jobs on the chopping block. The San Francisco Business Times first reported on the WARN notice filed in early April.
The layoffs and facility closure follows a deal with several Dermira vets that got three anti-inflammatory drug candidates off Lilly’s hands.
A cast-off from Roche, lebrikizumab is an IL-13 inhibitor that Lilly is positioning as a key drug in its late-stage immunology portfolio alongside the JAK inhibitor Olumiant (baricitinib) and the IL-23A blocker mirikizumab.
Specifically, they are grooming lebrikizumab to take on Regeneron and Sanofi’s blockbuster atopic dermatitis treatment Dupixent, with monthly dosing and competitive effects in clearing eczema.
Among the jobs being cut are the CEO role — occupied this past year by Lilly vet and former Immunocore CCO Andrew Hotchkiss — 5 vice president posts, 11 senior manager positions and 75 sales jobs, BioSpace reported. Some field employees may cross over to Journey Medical, which bought Qbrexza, although the details are unclear.