BioSpace Layoff Tracker 2022: Axcella Therapeutics, TherapeuticsMD, Instil Bio and More Cull Staff

The layoffs trend in the life sciences industry is continuing into the final months of 2022. See inside for details on which companies are reducing staff to increase cash flow.

With 2022 in the books, many in the biopharma industry are looking back at the year that’s passed and noticing trends that may help predict what’s to come in 2023.

2022 saw myriad ups and downs in terms of the economy, and as it ebbed and flowed, so too did the job market.

As the COVID-19 pandemic waned, rumors of a potential recession began to circulate, causing biotechs and pharma giants alike to implement cost-reduction strategies. This included industry leaders like Novartis, GSK, Bristol Myers Squibb, AbbVie and more.

Even so, many others celebrated expansions and growth throughout the year, announcing plans to open new facilities and hire additional team members to fill them.

BioSpace followed the layoff trend throughout 2022 and will continue to be your source of news for job cuts and restructuring initiatives in 2023. Follow along as we keep you up to date on which companies are tightening their belts and cutting staff in the new year.


Dec. 15:

Athenex Pharma Solutions filed a WARN notice with the state of New York stating it plans to close a production facility in Clarence, NY, laying off 92 employees as a result. The company stated the decision was due to financial difficulty, though it did not specify the cause.

Axcella Therapeutics announced that in an effort to reprioritize its resources, it will prioritize its Long COVID program and slash its headcount by 85%.

Dec. 9:

TherapeuticsMD, Inc. filed a notice with the state of Florida that stated it plans to lay off its entire workforce, totaling 212 employees.

Dec. 8:

Instil Bio announced it is discontinuing the development of its unmodified tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapeutic, ITIL-168, and laying off 60% of its staff.


Nov. 30:

Synlogic announced it plans to implement a restructuring initiative that includes cutting 25% of staff. The initiative will allow the company to focus on its lead assets.

SQZ Biotech stated in an SEC filing that it is cutting 60% of staff in a complete overhaul of focus and strategy. As part of the restructuring, Armon Sharei, Ph.D, will step down as CEO, to be replaced by Howard Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D, the company’s former chief financial officer and current member of the board.

Oncorus announced it has reduced its workforce by 20% and shifted its focus to the clinical development of ONCR-021, its first self-amplifying RNA product candidate. This will extend the company’s cash flow into early 2024.

Nov. 29:

Sana Biotechnology filed a notice with the SEC stating it plans to lay off 15% of its staff in a restructuring initiative. It will also drop its SC187 program studying cardiomyocytes to treat heart failure.

Nov. 28:

Codexis, Inc. filed a notice with the SEC stating it will lay off 15% of its workforce. This will allow it to extend its cash flow to the end of 2024.

Nov. 25:

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals announced it will slash three-fourths of its workforce following a Complete Response Letter from the FDA. This is expected to extend its cash flow through 2024.

Nov. 14:

Neoleukin plans to slash its workforce by about 40% and drop NL-201, a de novo IL-2/IL-15 agonist currently in Phase I, according to the company’s third-quarter report.

Tricida, Inc. is reducing its headcount by around 57% to improve its financial standing after its lead candidate failed in a Phase III trial, the company revealed in its third-quarter financial.

Pear Therapeutics will cut 22% of its staff, about 59 employees, in an effort to extend its cash runway. This is the company’s second round of layoffs since July.

Harpoon Therapeutics, Inc plans to slash its workforce by 45% in a restructuring plan, according to a report filed with the SEC. This will allow it to focus on only three of its assets and extend cash runway into 2023.

Nov. 9:

Adaptimmune is cutting 25% to 30% of its workforce in a company reorganization effort after GSK, which was partnering with the company, returned the rights to the PRAME program to Adaptimmune. The layoffs are expected to take effect in Q1 next year.

Curis, Inc. announced it plans to shift its focus to emavusertib, a candidate being developed for leukemia, and reduce resources dedicated to other pipeline programs. This will result in a reduction of its workforce by 30%.

Clovis Oncology warned that it might be close to bankruptcy in a 10-Q filing. Because of this, it announced it will reduce its workforce by 115 employees.

Nov. 7:

Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals plans to lay off 360 employees in Marlborough, MA. The company filed a WARN notice with the state of Massachusetts announcing the layoffs.

Nov. 3:

Valneva announced its plans to reduce its workforce by 20% to 25%, which will affect about 175 employees in total and save the company about $12 million.

Nov. 2:

Surface Oncology will pause the development of its CD39-targeted antibody SRF617 and cut around 20% of its workforce to focus on its lead anti-IL-27 program SRF388, the company announced.

Rubius Therapeutics plans to initiate a large restructuring initiative, which includes laying off 84% of its staff and a possible sale, the company announced.


Oct. 25:

Avanir Pharmaceuticals filed a WARN notice with the state of California that stated it will lay off 109 people in preparation for its merger with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. The layoffs will take effect on Dec. 31.

Oct. 24:

Novartis filed a WARN notice with the state of Illinois stating it plans to close a gene therapy manufacturing facility in Libertyville, Illinois. This will put 275 employees out of work, and the site will be phased out throughout 2023.

Oct. 20:

SCYNEXIS announced Thursday it plans to cut 40% of staff in order to shift its focus to R&D. The restructuring also includes major changes to the company’s C-suite.

PolyPid announced Thursday it is implementing a cost reduction plan that includes a 20% reduction in headcount across all departments. The company expects this to extend its cash runway through into the third quarter of 2023.

Oct. 18:

Ambrx Biopharma announced Tuesday it will lay off 15% of its workforce and suspend the development of its lead candidate in a strategic realignment initiative. According to Ambrx leadership this will help extend its cash runway into 2025.

Mereo BioPharma will cut 40% of its headcount and significantly reduce expenses to support the advancement of its lead programs through the clinic, the company announced Tuesday.

Oct. 13:

Novartis plans to cut up to 400 jobs over two years from its Dublin operation site, totaling 25% of its total workforce in Ireland. The cuts are part of a global restructuring initiative announced in April.

GlaxoSmithKline announced it will close its commercial operations in Kenya in 2023, instead using a third-party distribution model. GSK said this will include some job cuts, but did not specify how many.

Oct. 12:

GreenLight Biosciences is cutting staff by about 25% as part of a restructuring initiative, the company announced. Under the restructuring, GreenLight is pivoting its focus to programs that are closer to commercialization.

Oct. 11:

ImmunityBio announced job cuts at a facility in New York that was expected to expand the company’s manufacturing footprint. The company will lay off 38 employees at the Dunkirk site due to “economic” reasons, according to a WARN notice.

Oct. 10:

Rigel Pharmaceuticals reported it will reduce its headcount by 16%, eliminating 30 positions. The jobs being eliminated are primarily in development and administration, the company announced.

Oct. 6:

Cyclerion Therapeutics is planning to implement a mitochondrial disease-focused corporate strategic plan leading to a headcount reduction of approximately 45% to 16 full-time employees. The company expects annual cash savings of approximately $4.1 million following the restructuring.

Oct. 5:

OncoSec Medical will lay off around 45% of its workforce to focus its resources on the development of its lead asset, TAVO-EP (tavokinogene telseplasmid), the company announced.


Sept. 28:

Amneal Pharmaceuticals is shuttering a facility in Long Island, N.Y. The first 13 employees at the site have already been notified of their termination, which will be effective before the end of the year, according to a WARN notice. The rest of the employees will be laid off when the facility is closed in March.

Sept. 27:

Exicure announced a strategic initiative that includes cutting 66% of its workforce. The job cuts are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, the company announced. Its executive team is expected to remain in place following the restructuring and realignment.

Sept. 21:

Vesalius Therapeutics is laying off 43% of its staff six months after its official launch by Flagship Ventures. With a current headcount of 67, the company is slashing 29 jobs.

Sept. 16:

Bristol Myers Squibb announced it plans to cut up to 260 jobs at two different sites in San Diego. The company indicated the layoffs are related to its $4.1 billion acquisition of Turning Point Therapeutics, a deal that closed in August.

AbbVie’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filing indicated plans to axe up to 99 jobs in Irvine, California. The cuts are expected to occur in November. Per the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, the site is an Allergan manufacturing facility.

Sept. 15:

Palisade Bio is laying off 20 percent of its workforce, the company announced Thursday. The news comes a month after the company raised nearly $14 million in a public offering.

IMV reported plans to lay off one-third of its staff this month as part of a strategic reorganization. It plans to focus its remaining resources on its ongoing MVP-S program, which includes the Phase IIB VITALIZE trial in relapsed/refractor DLBCL and Phase IIB AVALON study in advanced metastatic ovarian cancer.

Sept. 13:

ObsEva SA announced an update to previously restructuring activities, including plans to pink-slip about 70% of staff, including Katja Buhrer, the company’s chief strategy officer.

Rubius Therapeutics announced it was terminating 75% of its staff as part of a restructuring plan to focus on its Red Cell Therapeutics technology.

Sept. 12:

Novartis officially announced plans to shutter the Sandoz generics factory in Wilson, North Carolina. The site will close around the end of 2023. It currently employs about 246 staffers and specializes in pharmaceutical oral solid dosage products for distribution in the United States and Canada.


Finch Therapeutics plans to reduce its workforce by 50 full-time employees as part of a corporate restructuring, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reported Thursday. It will also axe its planned trial studying FIN-211 for the treatment of autism as part of the restructuring plan.


Aug. 30:

Codiak BioSciences announced it is implementing a corporate restructuring and program reprioritization. As a result, its workforce will be reduced by 37% to 53 full-time employees.

Aug. 25:

Ahead of Sandoz’s spin-off, Novartis plans to close a facility belonging to the subsidiary in Wilson, NC by the end of 2023, according to reporting by The Triangle Business Journal. 246 people are employed at this site, which specializes in the production of oral solid dosage products for distribution in the U.S. and Canada.

Aug. 22:

Novartis reported that of the 1400 jobs it plans to eliminate in Switzerland, approximately half will include leadership and management positions. Matthias Leuenberger, the head of Novartis Switzerland, told the press at a media event that the first people to be laid off will be told “in the coming weeks.”

Aug. 10

Atara Biotherapeutics announced in a WARN notice to the state of California that it will lay off 77 employees in three different sites across the state. This follows the company’s announcement in early August that it planned to cut 20% of its workforce in order to extend funding into 2024.

Aug. 9:

Biogen announced it expects to lay off a potential 1,000 staffers to cut about $1 billion in costs, according to The Boston Globe. This is largely due to the rollout of its controversial Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm (aducanumab), which has not performed as Biogen expected.

Aug. 9

Just over a year after going public, drug design and development company Absci laid off about 40 employees in a company-wide restructuring effort, according to The Oregonian. CEO and founder Sean McClain cited the “macro-economic conditions of the past few months” as the reason for the layoffs in a blog post on the company’s site.

Aug. 4:

10x Genomics laid off about 100 staffers, which added up to approximately 8% of its full-time employees. This news came shortly after a second-quarter report showing revenues were down 1% from the same quarter of the previous year.

Aug. 2:

Talis Biomedical announced it plans to cull its workforce by 35%. In the announcement, it said the cuts will aid it in extending its cash flow into 2025. The company’s financial problems seem to be related to the beta rollout of its Talis One diagnostic system, which it reported has been delayed.


July 20:

Assembly Biosciences is reducing its workforce by 30% in order to focus on its most advanced programs. The company will be directing its focus to its next-generation core inhibitor programs ABI-4334 and ABI-H3733, which are being developed for the treatment of Hepatitis B.

July 20:

X4 Pharmaceuticals announced it is reducing its workforce by approximately 20%. The company will focus on advancing its treatments for neutropenic disorders, including mavorixafar, its lead product candidate, a first-in-class, once-daily oral small molecule inhibitor of CXCR4.

July 19:

Biogen axed 300 jobs in Massachusetts within the last 10 months, which is roughly 12% of its workforce in the state. The company said the layoffs were part of “cost-reduction measures” that would allow them to save $500 million annually. There are whispers that more layoffs could be coming down the pipeline in the coming months.

July 18:

Eisai announced plans to cut staff in its U.S.-based subsidiary, H3 Biomedicine. As a result, 79 employees were let go. The bones of the H3 Biomedicine operation will be used to support Eisai’s oncology research within a new US-based oncology hub called Deep Human Biology Learning.

July 7:

Adverum Biotechnologies announced it plans to lay off 38% of its workforce. The layoffs are part of the company’s plan to focus on advancing its most advanced product candidates and reduce operating expenses. This news came shortly after the European Medicines Agency gave approval to the company’s lead product candidate, ADVM-022.