Ferring shuts down U.S.-based research institute after more than 25 years, cutting nearly 90 employees

Ferring Pharmaceuticals is closing its San Diego-based research arm, resulting in layoffs that will affect 89 employees in California.

The company told employees about plans to shut down the Ferring Research Institute, according to a statement provided to Fierce Biotech. No additional job losses are expected in the U.S.

The institute is described as Ferring’s “global research arm and ideas incubator,” focusing on early drug discovery and development. The institute worked in collaboration with the Swiss pharma’s other research outposts in Denmark and Israel. 

It’s an abrupt end for the institute after Ferring just completed a new investment and expansion program. Those plans were slated to finish last year, according to the company's website, and a spokesperson confirmed that the renovation had just completed. The FRI was established in 1996 and moved into a 38,000-foot facility in 2009. The institute has been led by Araz Raoof, Ph.D., since July 2019, when she left her role overseeing external early drug development for Janssen in Europe. 

Ferring’s R&D has focused on three core therapeutic areas: maternal health and reproductive medicine, gastroenterology and the microbiome and immunology. The company finished off 2022 with multiple new product launches. 

Ferring received FDA approval for the first fecal microbiota product in late November, nabbing a greenlight for Rebyota to treat C. difficile in adults following antibiotic treatment or recurrent infection. Less than three weeks later, the company won over regulators for the bladder cancer treatment Adstiladrin. 

R&D efforts have struggled this year, however, capped off with the closing of the research institute. Ferring disclosed in January the premature end to a phase 2 trial testing a lactation support med due to slow enrollment. The company is also working on two phase 2 infertility treatments, for men and women, respectively, in addition to an oral formulation of Rebyota.