Momenta whacks top execs, 110 jobs in restructuring; Genentech gains $62M in R&D backing from BARDA

Momenta Pharmaceuticals $MNTA is restructuring, booting 110 jobs and a slate of execs in search of some deep budget cuts. As part of the restructuring, Momenta says it will narrow its biosimilars work to two late-stage programs while it shifts focus to novel therapeutics.

Momenta says it will shed 5 programs involved in its partnership with Mylan, sticking with a knockoff of Orencia. 

Out: Ganesh Kaundinya, chief operating officer and chief scientific officer; Bruce Leicher, SVP, general counsel and secretary; James Anderson, SVP pharmaceutical science; Robert Ciappenelli, SVP and head of commercial; and Scott Storer, SVP, chief financial officer and treasurer.

“Our goal when we entered this strategic review was to find an effective way to reduce our level of involvement in biosimilar development so that we could refocus our resources on our promising novel drug candidates for immune-mediated diseases. We explored a number of options, including the sale of all of our biosimilar assets in a single transaction,” said Momenta CEO Craig Wheeler. “After multiple rounds of complex negotiations, it was determined that the restructuring of our Company to focus on the advancement of our novel drug pipeline and the continued development of our two late-stage biosimilar programs, M923 and M710, provides us with what we believe to be the best path forward because of the potential for these two biosimilar programs to generate revenues that could help fund our future Phase 3 novel drug clinical trials.”

Genentech has won some significant support for its new flu drug from a new partner — and this one is happy to contribute to the cause without taking anything in return. BARDA is contributing $43 million over five years to support a study of baloxavir marboxil. Roche officials have been bullish about this drug, especially as they’d like to replace the revenue being lost to cheap knockoffs of Tamiflu with a new branded drug revenue stream. They’ve talked up its ability to resolve the flu in 24 hours, versus 72 hours for Tamiflu, but the presence of a cheap generic has dragged back sales expectations. BARDA will also provide $19 million over 18 months to advance alteplase (tPA) for a new indication to treat acute lung injuries called cast formation caused by inhaling sulfur mustard gas. 

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