With the ongoing trend of layoffs amongst pharma companies, Apellis Pharmaceuticals is planning to take a cut on about 225 employees, amounting to one-quarter of its workforce. In an announcement, the biopharma said its aim is to foster company restructuring while remaining positioned for long-term success.
As a result, shares were down over 20% on 29 August at $40.65 compared to the market close on the previous day. Presently, the company’s market cap is $4.874bn.
The news dropped months after Astellas purchased its geographic atrophy competitor Iveric for $5.9bn. While detailing those likely to be affected by the ‘shred’, medical employees and sales staff have been noted to be minimally impacted.
Apellis also stated the need to slash money spent on research and development, declaring that it will no longer be moving forward with preclinical treatments for geographic atrophy and brain diseases or previously planned studies fitting one of its therapies with an RNA-based treatment. Apellis said that this plan may well save the company up to $300m in total cost through 2024.
The Massachusetts-headquartered pharma will halt any new developments for Syfovre (pegcetacoplan) and Empaveli for geographic atrophy and rare blood disorders, respectively. However, it intends full support for the continued commercial roll-out of pegcetacoplan, anticipating launches in other countries, especially since it awaits the regulatory approval of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in early 2024.
Moving forward, the company will set its gaze on an ongoing Phase III VALIANT trial (NCT05067127) of pegcetacoplan to treat immune complex membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (IC-MPGN) and C3 glomerulopathy (C3G), which are two rare kidney diseases with no approved treatments. Top-line data are expected in 2024.
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Although the biopharma is reshuffling its priorities, it intends to maintain its partnership with Beam Therapeutics in the development of novel therapies for complement-driven diseases.
Cedric Francois CEO of Apellis said: “We are taking important actions to strengthen our ability to invest in growth opportunities and support the company’s long-term success, including maximising the significant opportunity with Syfovre.”
“As a more focused organisation, we believe these initiatives put Apellis in a stronger position to create value for shareholders and continue delivering on our mission for patients now and in the future.”
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