Aegerion Pharmaceuticals has launched its second wave of layoffs this year, disclosing plans to eliminate 13% of its workforce—approximately 28 jobs—this time around.
“Positions impacted are across all functions,” Aegerion stated yesterday in a regulatory filing. “The Company expects to complete the reduction in force during the third quarter of 2016.”
The company said its latest layoffs primarily resulted from its planned withdrawal of the homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) treatment Juxtapid (lomitapide) from the E.U.—where the drug is marketed as Lojuxta—and some other unspecified global markets by year’s end.
“We are disappointed to announce that we intend to withdraw lomitapide from these markets, but after significant time and investment to obtain pricing and reimbursement approvals in these regions, with limited success, we feel we have exhausted these efforts and must reprioritize our resources,” Aegerion CEO Mary Szela said in a statement.
“We are making difficult but necessary decisions to realign our business with the goal to position the Company for future growth and financial strength,” Szela added.
In February, Aegerion said it was eliminating 25% of its workforce, about 60 jobs, in a restructuring shrinking the company’s workforce to about 230 employees.
As it did in February, Aegerion also blamed the latest restructuring on competition from other drugs. Juxtapid sales are expected to slow down due to the launch of recently approved proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors such as the Sanofi/Regeneron treatment Praluent® (alirocumab) and Amgen’s PCSK9 inhibitor Repatha® (evolocumab).
Aegerion also signaled it was cutting back operations by disclosing in the filing that it will vacate approximately 30,700 square feet of office space at its headquarters in Cambridge, MA, by September 1, contingent upon its landlord re-leasing the space.
However, Aegerion estimated that it will incur approximately $3.9 to $4.4 million in aggregate charges related to the restructuring—including approximately $2.5 to $3 million related to employee separation costs, plus approximately $1.4 million in other one-time charges. The Company also projected that approximately $3.4 to $3.9 million of the aggregate charges will require future cash outlays.
The company said it expected to record restructuring-related charges “primarily in the third quarter” and did not expect to record material charges due to the EU lomitapide withdrawal.
That withdrawal, Aegerion said, has also prompted the company to begin a review of strategic options that include selling off the drug or licensing its rights to a partner.
In the EU, Aegerion plans to retain a presence intended to support the launch of Myalept® (metreleptin for injection) in that region upon anticipated approval in late 2017.
Through the restructuring, Aegerion aims to slice between $25 and $35 million in 2017 operating expenses compared to its previously stated 2016 operating expense guidance of between $145 and $155 million.
Aegerion said updated financial guidance would be disclosed upon completion of its planned merger with QLT, which is expected late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter. The combined company, Novelion Therapeutics, would have two marketed drugs and a Phase III–ready candidate, all focused on treating rare diseases.