Global biopharmaceutical company Athnex will cut jobs as part of a range of measures to reduce its operating costs by half.

The company has been looking to mitigate the damage through pipeline adjustments and other cost-cutting measures since obtaining a detailed response letter from the FDA in February 2021.

A corporate spokesperson declined to say how many of Athenex’s 652 full-time employees are being let go by year-end 2021 in order to extend the biotech’s runway by 18 months.


R&D (Research and Development) employs a sizable share of the workforce which is around 242. Cost-cutting measures have already been implemented.

Staff reductions and a focus on cell therapies will lower operating expenses by more than half, the business said in a full-year 2021 update released after the market closed on Wednesday, March 16.

CEO Johnson Lau said: “We are pleased to announce our new vision for the future of Athenex, by deploying our resources and harnessing our expertise toward the advancement of our promising cell therapy programs.

“The encouraging data that we have generated so far, along with our belief that cell therapy is driving the next major innovation cycle in cancer treatment, give us confidence in our new strategy.

“We are taking action to swiftly redirect our resources and have begun executing on cost savings measures to right-size the company and support our transformation to a lean, focused cell therapy company.”

In May 2021, Athenex expanded its foothold in cell treatments with the $70 million upfront acquisition of CAR-NKT-focused Kuur Therapeutics.

Athenex also recently sold its Dunkirk manufacturing facility for $40 million to help pay down debt and improve cash reserves.

The sale to ImmunityBio, the biotech from Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., that was involved in the US government’s COVID-19 Warp Speed operations closed in February.

Source: FierceBiotech

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