Aegerion Pharmaceuticals said today it will eliminate about 25% of its global workforce—nearly 60 jobs—in a cost-cutting plan designed to stretch its cash as U.S. sales of its cholesterol treatment JUXTAPID® (lomitapide capsules) face growing competition.
“The positions impacted are across substantially all of the company’s functions,” Aegerion said today in a regulatory filing.
The company said the layoffs would leave it with approximately 230 employees worldwide.
“This reduction in our workforce is a difficult but necessary step towards strengthening the company financially,” Aegerion CEO Mary Szela said in a statement.
The layoffs arise as JUXTAPID faces the prospect of slower sales due to the launch of new products. In July, for example, the FDA approved the Sanofi/Regeneron treatment Praluent (alirocumab). The first cholesterol-lowering treatment approved in a new class of monoclonal antibodies, proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors. A month later, the FDA approved Amgen’s PCSK9 inhibitor Repatha (evolocumab).
“We believe this action better aligns the company's resources with our current strategy and market opportunity for JUXTAPID and our goal of continuing to grow MYALEPT® (metreleptin for injection) sales, supports our objective to create a pipeline of therapies to treat patients with rare diseases and positions us to maximize the value of our assets for our shareholders.”
Szela took office last month, succeeding Marc Beer, who resigned in July after activist investor Alex Denner’s Sarissa Capital pressed for changes and won an independent board seat, with a second independent seat agreed upon for 2016. The pressure came more than a year after Aegerion received an FDA warning letter citing Beer for overstating the effects of JUXTAPID during an interview on CNBC.