Belgium Biotech ThromboGenics NV (TBGNF) Cuts Around A Fifth Of Employees
9/2/2014 6:40:01 AM
September 2, 2014
By Jessica Wilson, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
ThromboGenics NV (TBGNF) , the Leuven, Belgium-based biopharmaceutical company, has announced the effects of implementing its “standalone strategy,” which included “significantly” reducing its headcount. The company stated in a press release that medical affairs, market access and pre-clinical research activities in Europe were the most affected when the headcount fell by more than one-fifth (22%), from 192 on December 21, 2013 to 150 by August 28, 2014.
ThromboGenics will close its Irish branch by 2014. Due to the company’s partnership with Alcon to commercialize JETREA in markets outside the US, several market access and medical affairs positions will be taken over by Alcon employees or will be phased out. Former Chief Financial Officer, Chris Buyse, has also left the company to “pursue other interests.”
In addition to reducing headcount, ThromboGenics has decided to spin off its cancer research and development activities. More information about this deal, which will involve forming a new company in partnership with Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), will be forthcoming in September.
Changes in the company’s strategy come in the wake of its huge revenue decline, from “€7.1 million in the first half of 2014, compared with €102.7 million in the same period in 2013 (including €90 million in milestone payments).” The revenues tanked in large part because of the lackluster launch of its drug JETREA, used to treat vitreomacular adhesion (VMA) and vitreomacular traction (VMT), for which it is the first and only pharmacological treatment.
According to a BioSpace article published in February 2014, ThromboGenics stated, “The high level of awareness of JETREA® [sic] amongst the retina community in the US at the time of launch, has not yet delivered the sales volume that the Company had anticipated. In 2013, close to 7,000 patients were treated with JETREA® [sic] in the US."
Such a result could have happened because ThromboGenics launched the drug on its own. After low sales of JETREA, ThromboGenics considered putting itself up for sale, and in April 2014 allegedly inspired interest from both Novartis AG (NOVN) and Shire Plc (SHP). By June, however, ThromboGenics had decided to remain
Despite the disappointing launch of JETREA, the company stated that, “The commercial success of JETREA® [sic] in the US is at the heart of this [new] strategy.” Dr Patrik De Haes, ThromboGenics’ CEO, said: “We have adapted our organizational structure so that we are in position to achieve profitability in the US in 2016, based on sales of JETREA of around €30 million and to become overall cash flow positive in 2017. Our longer term target is to achieve overall revenues of €100 million by 2019.”
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