Ever since Dendreon's lackluster Provenge launch, the Washington-based biotech's failures have cast a pall over the troubled cancer vaccine field. And the company's bankruptcy won't help with that.
A couple of years ago, Dendreon sold off a manufacturing plant to Novartis for $40 million-plus to raise some quick cash. Now, someone can pick up its two remaining manufacturing facilities, a logistics center and headquarters in Seattle and its one-time promising drug, Provenge, for as little as $275 million.
The SEC is investigating whether officials at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services tipped off a policy research group about the agency's review of Dendreon's cancer vaccine, Provenge, The Wall Street Journal reports.
When Dendreon was trying to bring its cancer vaccine Provenge to market, many doubted whether it could overcome the associated manufacturing and logistical hurdles. Ultimately Dendreon did better than some expected, but not as well as it hoped. And the same problems that made the cost of producing and shipping Provenge a burden for Dendreon still hang over the sector.
Things haven't been pretty for Dendreon since its highly anticipated cancer vaccine Provenge stumbled out of the gate. Now that disappointing sales, increased competition and cost-control struggles have taken their toll, the Seattle-based company is up against a mountain of debt. But CEO John Johnson won't be around to help right the company's course.
The cancer vaccine field has seen its share of late-stage disappointments and outright flops, but a number of hopefuls are lining up to present new research backing their experimental shots at this year's upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago.
In the latest round of layoffs, Dendron plans to save $125 million in operating expenses by cutting its headcount by 15%. Around 150 full-time employees are set to lose their jobs over the next nine months as Dendreon cuts its R&D and marketing budgets in a bid to achieve profitability.
Dendreon is again turning to manufacturing, along with slashing more jobs, in its effort to claw its way to profitability. The drugmaker sold a plant last year to save money and raise some cash but will now invest in manufacturing in hopes that production improvements will reduce operation costs.
Troubled Dendreon is again cutting its payroll, planning to shed about 200 employees in an effort to water down its cash burn rate and finally turn a profit. But, with a disappointing prostate cancer drug and a dim outlook for the future, the Seattle drugmaker may need more than lighter books to reverse its fortunes or find an acquirer.
In August, a Wall Street analyst placed a headline-grabbing $0 price target on the stock of struggling cancer vaccine manufacturer Dendreon. Now, Dendreon has reportedly hired JP Morgan Chase to find someone who sees more value in the company and is willing to back their belief by acquiring the business.