uniQure to axe jobs and consolidate operations in cost-saving measures

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/Renovattio
Image: iStock/Renovattio

Related tags Gene therapy Bristol-myers squibb

Gene therapy firm uniQure will consolidate its global manufacturing and cut up to 60 jobs in a bid to recue operating expenses.

The company announced Tuesday it is refocusing its pipeline, consolidating manufacturing and reducing its workforce by up to 25% over the next year following a strategic review of its operations.

Over the next few months, all GMP manufacturing will be consolidated at the company’s 50,000 sq ft single-use facility in Lexington, Massachusetts which began operations last December​.

This will include moving production of its lead gene therapy product Glybera (alipogene tiparvovec) from The Netherlands to the US, though a small R&D site will be maintained in Amsterdam, the firm said.

Glybera - its treatment designed to compensate for lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD), made using insect cells and baculoviruses - became the first gene therapy to achieve regulatory approval in Europe in 2012.

Today’s announcement sees uniQure refocusing its pipeline on hemophilia B, Huntington’s disease and liver-directed diseases, while it named the collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb in cardiovascular diseases – a deal which could potentially net the firm up to $2bn​ - to be a top priority.

As for the jobs, between 50 and 60 are set to go resulting in a cost saving of up to €6m ($.4m) annually.

“Additionally, the Company expects to further reduce planned operating expenses by €11 to €15 million over the next two years through the focusing of its pipeline,”​ the company said in a press release.

While yet to present its third quarter 2016 financials, the firm reported operating costs in Q2 of €20m, resulting in an overall net loss of €19m.

“Based on its strong cash position and the above actions, uniQure believes its existing cash resources will be sufficient to fund operations into 2019.”

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