Robert Kramer, Emergent BioSolutions CEO

Emer­gent to cut over 130 po­si­tions to kick off new year

The Mary­land-based man­u­fac­tur­er Emer­gent BioSo­lu­tions is lay­ing off em­ploy­ees and two ex­ec­u­tives are de­part­ing.

In an an­nounce­ment on Mon­day, Emer­gent said that it will lay off 132 em­ploy­ees, as part of its plan to com­bine its re­search, prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, and clin­i­cal teams in­to a sin­gle “Sci­ence & De­vel­op­ment” team. The lay­offs amount to around 5% of Emer­gent’s cur­rent work­force. Ac­cord­ing to its an­nu­al re­port to the SEC for Fis­cal Year 2021, the man­u­fac­tur­er had 2,416 em­ploy­ees in to­tal. In a state­ment, Emer­gent CEO Robert Kramer said that the com­pa­ny will pro­vide re­sources to help all the em­ploy­ees af­fect­ed by the lay­offs, but no de­tails were pro­vid­ed.

In an email to End­points News, an Emer­gent spokesper­son said that the elim­i­na­tions will oc­cur over the next 60 days, and most of the roles be­ing cut are at sites in Cal­i­for­nia and Mary­land.

Emer­gent’s new Sci­ence and De­vel­op­ment team will fo­cus on pro­grams that will sup­port its “life cy­cle plans” for its li­censed prod­ucts along with grow­ing the prod­ucts and ser­vices busi­ness in the long run. Emer­gent said the move will save it $60 mil­lion once ful­ly im­ple­ment­ed, but the cur­rent costs as­so­ci­at­ed with the cuts are es­ti­mat­ed at $9 to $11 mil­lion and are ex­pect­ed to be in­curred in the first quar­ter of the year.

Two ex­ec­u­tives are al­so leav­ing. At­ul Saran, the EVP and chief strat­e­gy and de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, and Katy Strei, the chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer will be leav­ing on March 17, with Michelle Pepin be­ing pro­mot­ed to the po­si­tion ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ate­ly.

Emer­gent not­ed that it will con­tin­ue its fo­cus on med­ical coun­ter­mea­sures, Nar­can, and its gen­er­al con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness. Emer­gent’s stock price $EBS has gone down around 3.5% since open­ing on Mon­day.

“Emer­gent is un­der­tak­ing these ac­tions to strength­en our busi­ness, re­duce costs and re­turn to sus­tain­able, long-term growth,” Kramer said in a state­ment.

Emer­gent re­cent­ly signed a deal to sup­ply the US De­part­ment of De­fense with re­ac­tive skin de­con­t­a­m­i­na­tion lo­tion, with the con­tract worth $379.6 mil­lion.

The man­u­fac­tur­er is al­so not alone in con­duct­ing lay­offs this ear­ly in the year. Last week, El­e­va­tion On­col­o­gy’s CEO and founder an­nounced he was step­ping down im­me­di­ate­ly as the com­pa­ny aban­doned its for­mer lead can­di­date and laid off 30% of its work­force. The biotechs Cen­tu­ry Ther­a­peu­tics and Ae­glea Bio­Ther­a­peu­tics axed 25% and 15% of their work­forces re­spec­tive­ly to start 2023 as well.

Am­gen lays off about 300 work­ers, cit­ing 'in­dus­try head­wind­s'

Amgen has laid off about 300 employees, a company spokesperson confirmed to Endpoints News via email Sunday night.

Employees posted to LinkedIn in recent days about layoffs hitting Amgen last week. The Thousand Oaks, CA-based biopharma, which employs about 24,000 people, said the reduction “mainly” impacted US-based workers on its commercial team.

Drug developers of all sizes, including small upstarts and pharma giants, have let employees go in recent months as the biopharma market drags through a quarters-long winter doldrum.

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Bob Bradway, Amgen CEO (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Am­gen launch­es the first US Hu­mi­ra biosim­i­lar at two dif­fer­ent list prices

The bizarre dynamics of the US prescription drug market were on full display once again this morning as Amgen announced that it would launch the first US biosimilar for Humira, the best-selling drug of all time, at two completely different list prices.

One price for Amgen’s Amjevita (adalimumab-atto) will be 55% below the current Humira list price, which is about $84,000 per year, and another at a list price 5% below the current Humira list price, but presumably (pharma companies don’t disclose rebates) with high rebates to attract PBMs and payers.

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Dirk Thye, Quince Therapeutics CEO

Af­ter piv­ot­ing from Alzheimer's to bone con­di­tions, biotech piv­ots again — and halves its head­count

When troubled public biotech Cortexyme bought a private startup named Novosteo and handed the keys to its executive team, the company — which changed its name to Quince Therapeutics — said it would shift its focus from an unorthodox Alzheimer’s approach to Novosteo’s bone-targeting drug platform.

Less than a year later, Quince is pivoting again.

The biotech has decided to out-license its bone-targeting drug platform and its lead drug, NOV004, and instead look for clinical-stage programs to in-license or acquire, according to a press release.

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New York City in­vests $20M in­to biotech 'in­no­va­tion space' at the Brook­lyn Navy Yard

New York City is investing $20 million in biotech this year in the form of a 50,000-square-foot “innovation space” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, complete with offices, research laboratories and events and programming space to grow biotech startups and companies.

Mayor Eric Adams said during his State of The City Address last Thursday that there will be an “emphasis” on making more opportunities for women and people of color to further diversify the industry. The City first reported the news.

Boehringer In­gel­heim touts pre­ven­tion re­sults in rarest form of pso­ri­a­sis

Boehringer Ingelheim uncorked some positive results suggesting that Spevigo can help prevent flare-ups in patients with a severe form of psoriasis, months after the drug was approved to treat existing flares.

Spevigo, an IL-36R antibody also known as spesolimab, met its primary and a key secondary endpoint in the Phase IIb EFFISAYIL 2 trial in patients with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP), Boehringer announced on Monday. While the company is keeping the hard numbers under wraps until later this year, it said in a news release that it anticipates sharing the results with regulators.

As­traZeneca, No­vo Nordisk and Sanofi score 340B-re­lat­ed ap­peals court win over HHS

AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi won an appeals court win on Monday, as the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that the companies cannot be forced to provide 340B-discounted drugs purchased by hospitals from an unlimited number of community and specialty pharmacies.

“Legal duties do not spring from silence,” the decision says as the court makes clear that the federal government’s interpretation of the “supposed requirement” that the 340B program compels drugmakers to supply their discounted drugs to an unlimited number of contract pharmacies is not correct, noting:

Ap­peals court toss­es J&J's con­tro­ver­sial 'Texas two-step' bank­rupt­cy case

A US appeals court has ruled against Johnson & Johnson’s use of bankruptcy to deal with mounting talc lawsuits, deciding that doing so would “create a legal blind spot.”

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous bankruptcy court decision on Monday, calling for the dismissal of a Chapter 11 filing by J&J’s subsidiary LTL Management.

Faced with more than 38,000 lawsuits alleging its talc-based products caused cancer, J&J spun its talc liabilities into a separate company called LTL Management back in October 2021 and filed for bankruptcy, a controversial move colloquially referred to as a “Texas two-step” bankruptcy. Claimants argued that the strategy is a misuse of the US bankruptcy code — and on Monday, a panel of judges agreed.

Charles Riv­er se­cures $50M ac­qui­si­tion of drug dis­cov­ery tech com­pa­ny

Over the past several years, Massachusetts-based contractor Charles River Laboratories has been busy on the M&A front, with the latest, $50 million buyout coming Monday for a provider of high-throughput screening solutions for discovery research.

Chicago-based SAMDI Tech will now be folded into Charles River’s discovery and safety assessment division, Charles River announced.

The $50 million in cash is for the 80% of SAMDI that Charles River didn’t previously own. Other financial details on the deal were not disclosed.

Troy Tazbaz, FDA's newly-named director of the Digital Health Center of Excellence (Oracle via YouTube)

Or­a­cle ex­ec­u­tive Troy Tazbaz named new FDA di­rec­tor of dig­i­tal health

The FDA has found a brand new director of the Digital Health Center of Excellence in Troy Tazbaz, a former senior vice president at Oracle.

According to Tazbaz’s LinkedIn, he took a five-month break after leaving an 11-year career at Oracle before joining the FDA in January. Stat News first reported the hire. Tazbaz also said on his LinkedIn that he biked all the way from Chesapeake Bay to the San Francisco Bay over 58 days during his career break.