Alexza readies "significant" layoffs, brings in Lazard to review asset sale

Just days after eking out an FDA expert panel vote in favor of its inhaled antipsychotic Adasuve, Alexza Pharma ($ALXA) has brought in Lazard to investigate the possible sale of assets as it prepares to drop the budget axe on an uncertain number of employees.

Mountain View, CA-based Alexza announced that Lazard would look at a "possible sale or disposition of one or more corporate assets, a strategic business combination, partnership or other transactions." And the biotech said that it would "significantly reduce" its workforce as it pushed for a formal agency approval. Alexza shares were largely unaffected by the news this morning, with the stock trading at 66 cents.

An expert FDA committee voted 9 to 8 in favor of Adasuve on December 12, with a number of critics clearly remaining unhappy with the safety issues that have hobbled the program before. That vote came after investors dumped shares in Alexza after reading regulators' concerns about the potentially lethal pulmonary effects of the treatment in patients with asthma or COPD. Those same risks persuaded the FDA to reject Alexza's initial try at an approval. But a majority of the FDA panel felt that the biotech's risk mitigation strategy, which would demand that patients are carefully screened and then monitored for the first hour after treatment, satisfied their safety concerns.

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