OncoGenex said it will eliminate 27% of its workforce, in a cost-cutting plan intended to stretch the amount of time the cancer drug developer can operate until it runs out of cash.
The percentage amounts to 11 jobs, The Seattle Times reported today.
“Based on current expectations, the Company believes that resources will be sufficient to fund currently planned operations into the third quarter of 2017,” OncoGenex said yesterday in a statement.
Oncogenex had $55.2 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments as of December 31, 2015.
The job cuts come some two months after the company disclosed results from the Phase III AFFINITY trial, assessing a combination therapy of its lead product candidate custirsen and cabazitaxel, in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).
The combination failed to show an improvement in one of two primary endpoints, overall survival in patients with poor prognosis. OncoGenex said at the time it studied the combination in that sub-population with the goal of obtaining a faster approval for those patients.
However, the company said its other endpoint—overall survival in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population—generated results sufficient enough to continue the trial: “We designed the AFFINITY trial so that the final analysis of the ITT population could stand alone as a Phase 3 submission to regulatory agencies regardless of the outcome of the smaller subgroup,” OncoGenex president and CEO Scott Cormack said in a December 1, 2015, statement.
A final analysis of results from the ITT sub-population is expected in the third quarter of this year, OncoGenex said.
Going forward, OncoGenex said yesterday, it will focus on carrying out clinical development plans in order to reach near-term milestones for custirsen and apatorsen, a Phase II once-weekly intravenous heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) inhibitor. OncoGenex is preparing an NDA for apatorsen for intravesical administration in combination with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin treatment in patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.
During the second half of this year, the company said, it expects to disclose results from two Phase II trials involving apatorsen. One trial is Borealis-2, which is comparing the combination of apatorsen plus docetaxel treatment to docetaxel alone in patients with advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.
The other trial, Spruce, is assessing the overall survival benefit of apatorsen with carboplatin and pemetrexed chemotherapy in patients with previously untreated advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
In the first half of 2017, the company expects to announce results from another Phase III trial involving custirsen, ENSPIRIT, designed to study the survival benefit of custirsen in combination with docetaxel as second-line chemotherapy in approximately 700 patients with NSCLC.