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Halozyme culls staff by 55% following Phase 3 metastatic pancreas cancer failure

Published on 06/11/19 at 11:45am

Halozyme Therapeutics has announced it is to cull its workforce by more than half in the wake of the news that its investigational candidate PEGPH20 failed at Phase 3 in the first-line treatment of metastatic pancreas cancer.

The company revealed that the candidate failed to present median overall survival benefit when combined with gemcitabine and Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) compared to gemcitabine and Abraxane alone, presenting only 11.2 months benefit compared to 11.5 months. As a result, further development in the study is to be terminated.

“Patients in both treatment arms of the HALO-301 trial surpassed the published median overall survival rates from the pivotal registration study of Abraxane plus gemcitabine as first-line therapy for metastatic pancreas cancer, published in 2013. Based on the lack of benefit over standard-of-care in this study, which performed well versus published data, we will be discontinuing PEGPH20 clinical development,” explained Dr Helen Torley, President and CEO of Halozyme.

“This well-designed and well-executed study did not have the outcome that we or the study participants wanted or expected,” she continued. “I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all those who supported and who made this study possible, including the patients who were enrolled, their families, our investigators, their staff, our investors and all of the dedicated Halozyme employees.”

As a result, the company said it would therefore be reducing the company headcount by 55%, culling 160 positions. Around 80% of these cuts will be made by early January 2020. It is hoped that these drastic measures could claw back around $130-$140 million in operational savings. The company will continue to operate with around 120 staff.

Matt Fellows

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