Eyeing profitability, Theratechnologies slashes staff, dumps drug study

Canada's Theratechnologies laid out a strategy to cut a shorter path to profitability today, shelving one midstage clinical development program and axing 40 workers, or 60% of the biotech's staff. The company's board is also shrinking, with the chairman accelerating his plans to retire by the end of the year.

The biotech is shuttering a study of tesamorelin as a treatment for muscle wasting in COPD patients.  The Phase II trial of the treatment--which spurs production of a growth hormone that affects metabolism--started just a few months ago. The developer plans to spotlight its work on tesamorelin's potential for the treatment of excess abdominal fat in HIV patients with lipodystrophy. There's a separate program under way for a growth hormone releasing factor.

"We are on track to reach our year-end target of 3,000 to 3,500 new prescriptions in the U.S. for Egrifta, as announced earlier in the year. However, given the recent increase in uncertainty in financial markets, we have decided to accelerate our path to profitability," said Theratechnologies CEO John-Michel T. Huss. "With patient enrollment still in its early stages, now is the time to discontinue our COPD program."  

Add it all up and Theratechnologies says it should now become profitable in 2013.

- here's the press release

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