Enzyme engineer Codexis cuts short several programs, lays off 18% of staff

Enzyme engineering company Codexis has joined the crowd of biotechs culling staff and cutting programs in efforts to stay afloat.  

The California biotech has discontinued development of certain unnamed internal programs in efforts to refocus resources toward areas with the strongest commercial opportunity and best chances of success, according to a Nov. 29 release. The restructuring includes a 18% workforce reduction, which would equate to about 59 employees based on the company’s 329 staff members listed on LinkedIn.

The changes, which were shared yesterday after market close, will extend the company’s cash runway through the end of 2024, Codexis President and CEO Stephen Dilly, Ph.D., said in the release. Dilly is the former CEO of Sierra Oncology and joined Codexis in August, taking the reins from John Nicols, who retired after leading the company for a decade.

The restructuring is expected to be mostly complete by the end of this year and is projected to save $15 million in operating expenses in 2023. However, the biotech still has to pay out post-employment benefits and bonus payments in the fourth quarter of this year, which are anticipated to total $2.9 million, according to Nov. 28 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The biotech uses its platform to develop new enzymes and biotherapeutics across a wide range of areas, including pharmaceuticals, food and industrial products. The company has a partnership with Takeda focused on gene therapies for rare inherited disorders. Fierce Biotech has contacted Codexis to clarify whether any candidates from the Takeda collaboration are among the culled assets.