Agennix slashes staff in wake of PhIII cancer drug disaster

A few weeks ago Agennix was blitzed after the late-stage failure of its lead program raised questions about its ability to soldier on. Today the German biotech responded, closing a Houston office as the developer cut more than half its staff. A total of 37 employees are losing their jobs, with 30 left to pursue a dwindling set of options that include a possible wind-down of operations.

Shares of Agennix ($AGX) lost 70% of their value after talactoferrin failed to beat out a placebo in treating non-small cell lung cancer in a Phase III study. That disaster spurred Igor Kim, an analyst with Close Brothers Seydler Research, to tell Bloomberg that a merger could offer the best path for the company, which is based in Munich with offices in Princeton, NJ and Texas.

"Our immediate objective of conserving cash has sadly necessitated significant staff reductions in both Germany and the U.S.," says CFO Torsten Hombeck in a statement. "We are working with our supervisory board to determine the company's direction and will provide an update in the near future."

At the end of June Agennix reported that it had just under 23 million euros on hand. Today the company says that it has enough cash to make it into the first quarter of 2013. 

- here's the press release
- read the Bloomberg article