Transgene said Monday it will eliminate about 120 jobs under a restructuring intended to refocus the company on its core business of R&D for cancer and infectious disease immunotherapies.
However, the company added, “a significant number” of affected employees now holding manufacturing jobs would be offered positions in Illkirch, France, under a proposal by ABL, which like Transgene is also owned by the holding company Institut Mérieux.
Transgene is based in Strasbourg, France, with additional operations in Lyon, France, as well as satellite offices in China and the U.S. The company’s lead clinical-stage programs are TG4010 for non-small cell lung cancer and Pexa-Vec for liver cancer.
On June 1, the company presented positive Phase IIb data at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago for TG4010, a MUC1 targeted immunotherapy being developed for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. The compound showed significant improvements in progression-free survival and overall survival over placebo, especially in patients with non-squamous tumors. Also, patients treated with TG4010 plus chemotherapy showed improved response rates and a longer median duration of response compared to the control group.
Last year Transgene regained all rights to TG4010 after Novartis decided against exercising its option for global development and commercialization rights to the immunotherapy. Novartis paid $10 million for the option in 2010 under a deal that could have generated up to $800 million for Transgene.
Transgene has begun talks with employee representatives toward finalizing the job cuts. They will mostly affect positions in manufacturing and pharmaceutical development, as well as in support functions, the company said.
Transgene says it will refocus on R&D in part by advancing its clinical portfolio, reorganizing its research model, further developing its technology platforms, and outsourcing manufacturing and drug development activities. The company said it is especially looking to step up collaborations with academic institutions and hospitals, as well as with biopharmas, at earlier stages of product development.
“In this context, it is no longer strategic for Transgene to keep its stand-alone pharmaceutical development and bio-manufacturing capabilities,” Transgene said in a statement. “The company’s revised strategy should provide a more balanced business model and provide Transgene more flexibility in the execution of its strategic plan. Under this strategy, conducting and advancing ongoing and future research and clinical development projects would be priorities.”
Transgene said it plans to deliver further details on its clinical development restructuring “soon.”