Almirall Slashes 59 R&D Jobs as Restructuring Continues

Almirall Slashes 59 R&D Jobs As Restructuring Continues
April 23, 2015
By Mark Terry, Riley McDermid and Krystle Vermes, Breaking News Staff

Spanish biopharmaceutical company Almirall will be cutting 59 jobs in its research and development department, it told workers last week, nine less than the amount that was previously designated for layoffs. As of press time, Almirall could not be reached for additional comment.

The company is cutting the jobs as part of a restructuring process due to concurrency. Almirall said it will offer a “social plan” to help workers that have been laid off, but did not offer details on how that plan may be implemented.

Almirall has been building off of its research and development achievements for more than 40 years, continuously developing treatments through agreements and alliances with outside businesses. The company has 15 affiliates with sales capabilities in 23 countries. Its products are marketed in over 70 countries. Its products include Actikerall for treating sun damaged skin, Sativex for spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, and Tesavel for diabetes. The company has a market value of 2.3 billion euros.

In December 2014, Almirall made headlines when it was rumored that Actavis was willing to make a $3 billion bid for the company, which Amirall denied, and which ultimately came to naught.

However, in November, Barcelona, Spain-based Almirall completed a deal with AstraZeneca PLC that will transfer all rights to its respiratory franchise. The deal will give all rights for the development and commercialization of Almirall’s existing respiratory business, as well as revenues from the company’s partnerships and pipeline of investigational therapeutics. Along with the products, 719 Almirall employees with transfer to AstraZeneca.

The agreement was first announced on July 30, 2014, and included an upfront payment of $875 million in cash. Additional developmental, launch and sales-related milestones can add up to $1.22 billion.

Almirall’s respiratory franchise includes Eklira (aclidinium), Duaklivir, a mix of aclidinium and formoterol (LAMA/LABA), LAS100977 (abediterol), an M3 antagonist beta2-agonist (MABA) platform currently in pre-clinical development (LAS191351, LAS194871), and Phase I (LAS190792) preclinical programs. In addition, an Almirall subsidiary, Almirall Sofotec, which focuses on device development, is part of the deal.

“This global collaboration will allow us to maximize the potential value of our exciting respiratory franchise and AstraZeneca is the perfect partner to do this,” said Jorge Gallardo, president of Almirall in a statement. “Moreover, the deal has given us a strong financial baseline to accelerate our strategy and to start focusing our resources in becoming a top Dermatology global player with an additional interest in other specialist driven areas. Excellence in R&D will remain a key part ofAlmirall’s business going forward and we are confident that this agreement will make a significant contribution to the company’s long-term growth.”

AstraZeneca has a strong respiratory portfolio, which includes Symbicort and Pulmicort, as well as numerous pipeline products. The addition of aclidinium and the aclidinium/formoterol, which are used in a proprietary Genuair device, will provide AstraZeneca patients a choice between a metered dose inhaler device and a dry powder inhaler.

“Our agreement with Almirall brings strategic and long-term value to AstraZeneca’s strong respiratory franchise, one of our key growth platforms,” said AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot in a press release. “We will benefit from immediate and growing product revenues which we anticipate will be rapidly accretive to earnings. Chronic respiratory disease affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. By combining our innovative portfolios and leveraging AstraZeneca’s global scientific and commercial capabilities, we will strengthen our ability to address the entire spectrum of care in asthma and COPD. I very much look forward to welcoming the Almirall people to our company.”

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