Prothena cuts jobs, focuses on Roche and Celgene collaborations

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/BrianAJackson)
(Image: Getty/BrianAJackson)
Prothena Corporation has announced plans to restructure its neuroscience pipeline and lay off 57% of its workers.

The pipeline reshuffle will see Prothena discontinue its investigational antibody NEOD001 programme, which is under development for the treatment of amyloid light-chain (AL) amyloidosis.

The Ireland-headquartered biotech is also reducing headcount by 57%, bringing employee numbers down to approximately 63.

“As a result of the discontinuation of the NEOD001 development program, Prothena has implemented a reorganization designed to concentrate resources around its neuroscience research, discovery and early development expertise to advance its broad discovery and clinical-stage pipeline and will reduce its workforce by approximately 57 percent,” ​the firm said in a statement​.

Spokesperson Ellen Rose told us staff cuts will be seen across Prothena’s network, rather than in one specific location.

Approximately $80m-$85m (€69m-€73m) of operating expenses associated with NEOD001 will contribute to a predicted net loss of $170m-$185m for 2018, according to the company.

The reorganisation will also contribute to the estimated net loss, “including research, development, manufacturing and pre-commercial expenses, severance costs and contract termination fees related to manufacturing obligations and approximately $8m of non-cash share-based compensation expense,” ​according to the company.

Pipeline focus

Prothena said the pipeline reshuffle will free-up resources for neuroscience development programmes, including those conducted in collaboration with major pharmaceutical companies Roche​ and Celgene​.

The biotech said it is committed to investigational antibody programmes PRX002/RG7935 – currently in development with Roche – for the treatment of early Parkinson’s disease, as well as its proprietary programme PRX004, designed to treat patients with ATTR amyloidosis.  

The firm also is advancing three programmes as part of a neuroscience R&D collaboration with Celgene, including tau, TDP-43, and an undisclosed target.

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