A month after Swedish company Active Biotech AB reported that its Phase III trial of 10TASQ10 in castration-resistant prostate cancer reached its primary endpoint but did not increase peoples’ overall survival, the company announced plans to lay off 47 people.
Active Biotech and French company Ipsen collaborated on the study of 10TASQ10 (tasquinimod). While the drug reduced the risk of radiographic cancer progression or death compared to a placebo, it did not extend the overall survival rate of patients. This led the two companies to halt all studies of tasquinimod in treating prostate cancer, according to BioSpace.com.
“The outcome of the 10TASQ10 study is a major disappointment based on the promising Phase II results,” said Tomas Leanderson, president and chief executive officer of Active Biotech in a statement. “However, the data at hand is unambiguous and cannot motivate further development of tasquinimod in this patient population.”
The job cuts, which are significant in a company with 56 employees, are anticipated to reduce operating costs by approximately SEK 50 million per year starting in 2016, the BioSpace.com article says.
Active Biotech stock dropped at the news. Stock sold for $27.90 on April 14, dropped significantly to $10.90 on April 16 and is currently selling for $9.50.
The company did say that its clinical project working with Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to study laquinimod will continue, the BioSpace.com article notes. However, since most of the company’s employees were involved in the 10TASQ10 project, that is the reason for the layoffs.