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Aug 8, 2013

Array Lays Off 50 after Amgen Diabetes Collaboration Ends

  • Array BioPharma will cut 20% of its staff—about 50 employees—following Amgen’s decision to end a collaboration aimed at developing new drugs against type 2 diabetes and refocus on hematology and oncology drugs.

    “After the 20% reduction, Array will have approximately 200 employees whose capabilities are tightly aligned with the Company's strategy,” Array said yesterday in a statement buried within its fourth-quarter and full-year results for its 2013 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

    Also buried was Array’s acknowledgement that it “received notification this week that Amgen has elected to end its glucokinase activator partnership with Array and return the program, including ARRY-403 (AMG 151), to Array.”

    The partnership's end and the job cuts come 3-1/2 years after Array and Amgen announced their collaboration, under which Amgen was granted exclusive worldwide rights to Array's small-molecule glucokinase activator program—including the collaboration’s lead product, ARRY-403/AMG 151, which is designed to reduce glucose levels by working in both the pancreas and the liver.

    As of Dec. 14, 2009, when the companies announced their partnership, ARRY-403/AMG 151 was being tested in a Phase I trial in patients with type 2 diabetes. The drug candidate advanced in 2011 into a mid-stage clinical study [NCT01464437] that ended in December. Amgen evaluated ARRY-403/AMG 151 in 236 enrolled patients with type 2 diabetes treated with metformin for at least 3 months prior to randomization, with the goal of studying dose effect and frequency of administration, the company stated on ClinicalTrials.gov.

    “Results from Amgen's recently completed Phase IIa trial in patients with type II diabetes will be shared with the scientific community in the future,” Array stated, without offering further details.

    Under their agreement, Array received a $60 million upfront payment, and was supposed to earn undisclosed additional contingent payments tied to achieving clinical and commercial milestones, and potential double-digit royalties on sales of ARRY-403/AMG 151.

    Array also agreed to complete the Phase I trial for ARRY-403/AMG 151, with Amgen responsible for future clinical development and commercialization for the drug candidate and any resulting back-up compounds, all of which Array would have had an option to co-promote in the United States.


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