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Medivir (MVRBF) Slashes Jobs in Reorg, Company to Exclusively Focus on Oncology

10/10/2016 5:53:40 AM

Medivir Slashes Jobs in Reorg, Company to Exclusively Focus on Oncology October 10, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Medivir AB (MVRBF), headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, announced today that it is reorganizing to focus exclusively on oncology.

Medivir focuses on oncology and infectious diseases. It indicates it will be discussing partnerships for its infectious disease pipeline by the end of the year, including its MIV-711, once its Phase IIa trial program has been finished. MIV-711 is a cathepsin K inhibitor being investigated to treat osteoarthritis.

Medivir indicates it believes the restructuring will have a total reduction of costs of about 110 MSEK annually, or about $12.7 million (U.S.). The company will cut about 25 research jobs, with a total of about 30 positions being lost. A charge of about 20 MSEK, or $2.3 million (U.S.), is expected to be recorded in this year’s fourth quarter.

“I believe this reduced cost in early research, and a streamlined therapeutic area focus with a smaller and more cost effective organization, will strengthen Medivir’s position as an efficient oncology company with a growing development pipeline and research platforms for sustainable growth,” said Niklas Prager, Medivir’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Medivir’s ambition is to have a well balanced and broad pipeline from early to late stages of development. We will continue to build on our technology platforms and proven track record of translating projects into value creating partnerships.”
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This follows an August 31 report that the company’s board of directors had decided to continue with splitting the company’s operations into two independent companies. The new commercial company was expected to be based on its current portfolio. The company stated that, “The objective of the separation is to visualize the value of both the commercial operations and the pharmaceutical projects that make up the R&D portfolio.” They expect to finish it before the end of the year.

It is not completely clear if today’s news is part of that reorganization, or a different plan, although a continuation seems likely.

Medivir’s biggest asset is its partnership with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Olysio for hepatitis C. The new company after the split would have MIV-711, which is the only program in its clinical pipeline.

Nick Paul Taylor, writing for FierceBiotech at the end of August, said, “That wil/l change when nucleotide NS5B polymerase inhibitor MIV-802 advances into the clinic. Trek Therapeutics recently picked up the rights to MIV-802 in most markets, meaning the biotech that spins out of Medivir will be freed of the burden of developing the drug and positioned to rake in milestones. The flip side of the situation is that the biotech will have a fairly thin in-house pipeline. Medivir is working on treatments for HIV, respiratory syncytial virus and hepatocellular carcinoma, but none of these programs has advanced beyond the discovery stage.”

Trek holds the rights to develop and commercialize the drug globally, excluding China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. BioPhausia, a Medivir subsidiary, holds commercial rights in the Nordics and specific Western European countries.

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