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September 16, 2008

Cytokinetics Lets Go of Oncology Research Business and 29% of Staff

  • Cytokinetics has decided to stop oncology-related research and instead focus its attention on its drugs for muscle problems. The company will cut 29% of its workforce and will be left with 111 employees.

    Cytokinetics anticipates incurring restructuring charges of approximately $2.5 million in the third quarter. The firm expects its 2008 cash operating expenditures to be between $76 and $81 million. These costs will decrease to between $12 and $16 million in 2009, according to Cytokinetics.

    Cytokinetics has three oncology compounds in multiple phases of clinical development and one drug from its muscle biology program in Phase II trials called CK-1827452. It is being evaluated as a potential treatment of heart failure under an agreement with Amgen.

    Cytokinetics says that it will conclude the ongoing Phase IIa study and deliver the data to Amgen. The company is also planning for the initiation of Phase IIb trials in 2009.  If Amgen exercises its option to take over development of the molecule, Cytokinetics will receive $50 million.

    The three investigational anticancer agents are partnered with GlaxoSmithKline. Ispinesib is in Phase I trials for leukemia, pediatric solid tumors, and breast cancer. SB-743921 is being evaluated in early-stage studies as a treatment for Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. GSK-923295 is in a Phase I program related to solid tumors.

    Cytokinetics will conclude Phase I portions of the ongoing Phase I/II trials for Ispinesib and SB-743921 to inform the potential exercise of GlaxoSmithKline's option under the companies' strategic alliance. The firm reports that it will continue to work with GSK on its Phase I trial with GSK-923295.

    Besides these activities to support its existing partners, Cytokinetics will advance its skeletal muscle activator development compound to an IND filing and initiate a Phase I study next year. It will also further the smooth muscle inhibitor program with the aim of selecting a compound for development.

  • Finally! A cure for the Biotech News Blues.

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