Fierce Biotech Layoff Tracker 2023: Reneo reduces workforce by 70%; Oxurion cuts staff down to 10

We had hoped that our Layoff Tracker would stay retired for a while. We certainly had no plans to bring it back within the same week, but 2023 is starting to look a lot like our old friend 2022 when it comes to layoffs in biotech.

Last year, we tallied 119 total layoffs among biotech companies, with a rush of 23 announced in November 2022. The latest clutch of staff reductions that have kicked off the year could just be a hangover from the brutal market of 2022. And companies are said to be waiting for the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference to see whether the industry is going to reset.

Either way, staff have been handed pink slips at a number of biotechs, so here they are.

As always, if you know of a layoff occurring at a biotech, please reach out to the Fierce Biotech editorial team and let us know. 

— Senior Editor Annalee Armstrong

December—13 companies

December 29 - Oxurion: The Belgium-based biotech is shifting focus to only preclinical activity, cutting down the company's team to only 10 staff members. The rest of Oxurion's workforce, including current CEO and CFO Tom Graney, will participate in a voluntary redundancy program that will slash personnel costs by 67%. The move is helping the biotech avoid bankruptcy after a failed clinical trial. Release 

December 20 - Aclaris Therapeutics: The Pennsylvania-based company is reducing its headcount by around 46%, with the changes to begin “immediately” and likely to be completed by the end of June next year. The company entered 2023 with 100 full-time employees, all of whom were based in the U.S. Story 

December 19 - Asher Bio: The small immunotherapy biotech has reduced its workforce by 60%, sending 34 employees on their way and pivoting to focus on a single immunotherapy. Chief Operating Officer Kyle Elrod confirmed the layoffs to Fierce Biotech. Story 

December 14 - Reneo Pharmaceuticals: After the California biotech's rare genetic disease study missed both primary and secondary goals, Reneo is halting development of its only asset and laying off 70% of staff. The layoffs are expected to be completed by Dec. 31. Story 

December 13 - Vir Biotechnology: San Francisco-based Vir has plans to eliminate 75 positions, around 12% of its headcount, and shutter two U.S. facilities to save more than $40 million a year. Story 

December 12 - Ferring Pharmaceuticals: The company is trimming its headcount by 134 across its two U.S. locations. Ferring’s U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey, will see 79 job cuts by March 5, 2024, while 55 employees at the company’s Minnesota microbiome hub will be laid off by February 5. Story 

December 11 - Altamira Therapeutics: As the biotech looks to offload legacy assets while fully pivoting toward RNA delivery, a quarter of its workforce has been sent packing in efforts to significantly reduce its cash spend. Story 

December 8 - Ventyx Biosciences: After seeing its share price plummet 94% in six months in response to R&D updates, the inflammatory disease company has decided to reduce its headcount by 20%. The company ended September with 99 full-time employees. Story 

December 5 - IGM Biosciences: IGM CEO Fred Schwarzer recently told investors that the company had enough cash to last into the second half of 2025. But evidently, layoffs were necessary to fortify that financial footing, with the company cutting 22% of employees. Story

December 5 - ReNAgade Therapeutics: ReNAGade Therapeutics has laid off approximately 10% of its team six months after launching with $300M. The company said in a statement that it was cost-cutting "to focus efforts towards program teams that will help accelerate the path to DC & IND." Story

December 5 - Travere Therapeutics: The San Diego-based biopharma is cutting its workforce by 20% as it focuses on its launch of kidney drug Filspari and develops pegtibatinase as a potential treatment for the metabolic disorder homocystinuria. Story

December 5 - Orna Therapeutics: Circular RNA biotech Orna Therapeutics recently underwent layoffs, a spokesperson confirmed to Fierce Biotech. The cuts were originally reported by Endpoints News. 

December 5 - Axcella Health: Flagship-founded Axella Health is shuttering after 12 years, the company disclosed, wiping out one of the few biotechs looking to tackle Long COVID. The company laid off 85% of its staff almost a year ago as part of a massive restructuring. Story


November—19 companies

November 29 - Kite Pharma: Gilead's cell therapy unit Kite Pharma is cutting staff as executives previewed a “refreshed business strategy." A spokesperson for Gilead confirmed the changes and said the cuts affect 7% of the workforce, however about 90 roles are being created that are better aligned with the organization’s focus. Story

November 29 - Generation Bio: Massachusetts-based Generation is laying off 40% of its staff as part of an R&D pivot to extend the biotech’s cash runway into the second half of 2027. The layoffs, which will see the biotech's chief development and medical officers exit the building, are part of a pivot to targets beyond the liver. Story

November 29 - AbCellera Biologics: Vancouver's AbCellera is reorganizing and reducing its workforce to focus efforts on the development of new antibody medicines. The layoffs will impact 10% of the workforce and cost about $2.5 million. Disclosure

November 28 - Candel Therapeutics: Candel is cutting 50% of the team to save as much cash as possible for a handful of readouts slated for 2024. The company also hopes to stay afloat by finding partners for both its lead cancer asset and discovery platform. Story

November 20 - Kintara Therapeutics: The solid tumor-focused biotech disclosed that it laid off its chief scientific officer as part of wider cost-cutting measures. The company has also "significantly cut back on the number and utilization of consultants," CEO Robert Hoffman said in an email to Fierce Biotech. Disclosure

November 15 - Atreca: The California-based biotech is reducing its head count by 40% for the second time in three months in a bid to keep the lights on until strategic alternatives can be identified. Story

November 14 - Theseus Pharmaceuticals: Four months after a safety signal blew Theseus’ quest to develop a gastrointestinal stromal tumor treatment off course, the company is shrinking its head count by almost three-quarters. As part of the restructure, Theseus plans to consider a wide range of options, including a potential asset sale, merger or sale of the company. Story 

November 14 - Pfizer: The Big Pharma plans to cut about 500 roles and ax its Pharmaceutical Sciences Small Molecule capabilities at its site in Sandwich in Kent in the U.K., a company spokesperson told Fierce Pharma. Currently, around 940 people are employed at the facility. The spokesperson described the layoffs as “one of the consequences” of Pfizer’s enterprisewide cost realignment program unveiled in October.  Story 

November 9 - Gilead: Gilead Sciences has cut around 45 employees from its Foster City, California office “to further align our business for future growth.” The layoffs were flagged in a California Work Adjustment and Retraining Notification report dated November 3. The notice date for the workforce reduction was noted as October 4. The bulk of the layoffs, 41 people, are effective December 15, while a single employee’s layoff was from earlier this year on March 15. Gilead confirmed the layoffs to Fierce Biotech in a statement: "While our business is performing well and our clinical momentum continues to accelerate, we are taking measures to further align our business for future growth, including streamlining some areas of the organization to better optimize operational efficiency."

November 9 - Novavax: Novavax is implementing another round of cost cuts for 2024 in addition to a previously announced savings plan. The new cuts include "focused head count reductions," according to a statement from the company. Release 

November 9 - SQZ: SQZ's extended hunt for a strategic alternative has spurred layoffs to 80% of the team. Interim CEO Howard Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D., said in a release that the management team and board "firmly believe in the technology and therapeutic potential." Story

November 9 - Regenxbio: A new pipeline prioritization plan has spurred cuts to 15% of employees. Atop the to-do list is its clinical-stage AAV gene therapy programs, while the biotech will look to partner on some of its neurodegenerative assets. Story

November 8 - Lyell Immunopharma: In order to extend its cash into 2027, Lyell is laying off a quarter of its employees. The company is deprioritizing some earlier work a year after GSK axed a partnership worth $1 billion. Story

November 8 - Pyxis: Antibody-drug conjugates may be all the rage but Pyxis is cutting 40% of staff to extend its runway. The immediate clinical focus will be tumor stroma-targeting ADC PYX-201 and secondary program PYX-106 in non-small cell lung cancer. Story

November 7 - CRISPR Therapeutics: CRISPR Therapeutics laid off a number of employees a week after a positive meeting with FDA advisers, according to three sources familiar with the decision. Two of the sources said about 50 employees were let go. A spokesperson for CRISPR did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Story

November 7 - Arbutus Biopharma: Arbutus is laying off 24% of its team after recently deciding to redirect money for research programs toward clinical efforts. The company plans to report initial phase 2a trial data of its triplet hepatitis B virus therapy, developed in conjunction with Barinthus Bio (formerly Vaccitech) at the upcoming American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) annual meeting. Release

November 2 - Seres Therapeutics: After securing the first-ever approval for an oral microbiome therapy in April, Seres is restructuring, sending 41% of staff packing. The workforce reduction, which will impact about 160 people, will take place across the organization. Story

November 1 - Rani Therapeutics: The California-based biotech is sending a quarter of employees out the door to save cash, while also halting work on a neuroendocrine tumor pill named RT-101. Story

November 1 - Sangamo Therapeutics: Not only has Sangamo decided to lay off 162 employees, equivalent to 40% of its U.S. workforce, the biotech's headquarters in Brisbane will close while it decamps to another California facility in Richmond by the end of the year. As part of the restructuring, Chief Operating Officer D. Mark McClung and Chief Scientific Officer Jason Fontenot, Ph.D., will both be heading for the exits. Story


October—16 companies

October 31 - Galapagos: Under a new deal, Galapagos is transferring its Jyseleca marketing authorizations in Europe and the U.K. to Alfasigma of Italy, along with roughly 400 employees. Aside from transferring the Jyseleca-focused employees, Galapagos plans to trim another 100 positions. Story 

October 30 - Pfizer: Following prior cuts in Illinois and Colorado, Pfizer is laying off a staggering 791 employees in New Jersey, according to a WARN notice. The disclosure comes as a result of Pfizer's plan to close its Peapack, NJ, facility in early 2024, a company spokesperson said over email. While the WARN listing shows that 791 positions are affected, the "vast majority" of workers will be reassigned to Pfizer's New York Headquarters, the company's spokesperson told Fierce Pharma. Story

October 26 - ElevateBio: Even with $401 million in the bank—thanks to one of the year’s largest biotech fundraisings—ElevateBio is shaving off some pre-clinical work resulting in layoffs that will affect 13% of the workforce. It’s unclear exactly how many employees will be headed out the door. The company is listed as having around 500 people on LinkedIn. Story

October 24 - Amgen: After a $27.8 billion buyout of Horizon, Amgen is laying off 350 former Horizon employees. The positions that are being eliminated are jobs that overlap with existing teams at Amgen. Story

October 24 - Idorsia: The insomnia-focused biotech is laying off 300 people, predominantly in R&D and associated functions. About 175 other positions were made redundant by either canceling open positions or not replacing people who had left. The workforce reduction follows Idorsia's warning in July that it may have to let go of up to 500 people to shave costs. Story

October 24 - BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics: After failing to win approval for its stem cell therapy candidate, NurOwn, in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, BrainStorm is laying off 30% of its staff, including Chief Medical Officer Kirk Taylor, M.D. The move is part of a broader effort to eliminate activities outside of what it will need to try to overcome the FDA’s reservations regarding existing evidence on NurOwn. Story

October 19 - Beam Therapeutics: The gene therapy biotech is laying off about 100 employees and rejigging its pipeline priorities to save cash, citing a “challenging market environment.” The workforce reduction equates to 20% of the entire workforce and is expected to be complete before the end of the year. Story

October 17 - Nkarta: The cell therapy company is set to lay off 18 employees, cuts that align with the company’s plan to zoom in on its later-stage programs. The 10% workforce reduction are an attempt to save cash and support operations through 2024, when Nkarta anticipates multiple clinical data readouts. Story

October 11 - Biogen: Just two weeks after Biogen completed its buyout of Reata Pharmaceuticals, the combined company is trimming its staff. In a recent WARN notice sent to state officials in Texas, Reata said it's cutting 113 positions. The layoffs will take effect late next month. Story

October 10 - Sana Biotechnology: The cell engineering biotech is restructuring and narrowing its focus for the second time in less than a year. The company is now pulling back from its in vivo delivery platform and reducing its head count by 29% to stretch its cash runway further into 2025, a move that follows a 15% workforce reduction late last year. The company ended June with 424 full-time employees, suggesting the layoffs will impact more than 100 people. Story

October 7 - Eikon Therapeutics: The biotech, which has snagged several big-name executives from Merck & Co. and raked in some of the largest financing rounds in recent memory, has cut staff in an effort to “become more efficient.” Story

October 6 - NanoString Technologies: The Seattle-based biotech is cutting 110 positions, or 20% of its global workforce. The company expects to substantially complete the workforce reduction by Dec. 31. Release

October 6 - Atsena Therapeutics: The company has cut staff to funnel more money toward a phase 1/2 inherited retinal disease program. The company confirmed the layoffs to Fierce Biotech but declined to say how many employees were impacted. Story

October 5 - uniQure: The biotech is losing a fifth of its employees—including its chief scientific officer—as well half of its R&D projects in efforts to save enough money to keep its planned gene therapy trials running into 2027. A total of 114 positions will be eliminated, though the company was keen to emphasize that the cuts won’t impact staff involved in the manufacturing of the hemophilia B dug Hemgenix for its partner CSL Behring. Story

October 4 - Kezar Life Sciences: The San Francisco-based biotech is significantly reducing both its workforce and pipeline to eke out cash until its lead lupus drug reads out more phase 2 data. The “strategic restructuring program” includes a 41% workforce reduction and saying goodbye to Chief Medical Officer Noreen Henig, M.D., and CEO John Fowler. Story

October 2 - Syros Pharmaceuticals: A few weeks after a second company walked away from the biotech, Syros is laying off 35% of staff. The company also announced the retirement of its CEO, Nancy Simonian, M.D., who will step down at the end of the year. Story


September—8 companies

September 29 - PTC Therapeutics: After unveiling 8% layoffs in May, the company has announced that it will now cut three times as many roles as European regulators consider halting sales of the company’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug. Story

September 27 - Galecto: After halting work on an inhaled treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in the wake of a phase 2 trial fail, the Boston-based biotech is laying off 70% of its workforce—or 29 employees. Story

September 26 - AM-Pharma: After failing in a phase 3 study for a severe kidney complication of sepsis, the Dutch biotech is redirecting its lead program, cutting staff and getting a new CEO. The company declined in an email to specify the number of people affected. Story

September 22 - ImmunityBio: After an FDA rejection earlier this year, ImmunityBio has laid off around 50 employees across California and Florida—its second layoff wave in less than a year. Story

September 20 - NightHawk Biosciences: The biotech focused on developing medical countermeasures to fight emerging biothreats is officially dropping R&D and sending associated staff out the door. The company is instead zooming in on its CDMO wing, a new focus that has sent 13 people, or 14% of the team, packing. The layoffs will be completed immediately. Story

September 19 - Fresh Tracks Therapeutics: With plans to dissolve, the autoimmune-focused biotech is discontinuing all development programs and laying off most of its team by early October. In connection with the proposed liquidation—which still needs to be approved by shareholders—the board has also terminated President and CEO Andrew Sklawer, effective Oct. 2. Story

September 18 - Kinnate Biopharma: The California oncology biotech has let go of 70% of its team in efforts to cut down on operating expenses, leaving about 28 full-time employees son Kinnate's roster. The workforce reduction includes separating from all employees of Kinnjiu Biopharma, Kinnate's wholly-owned subsidiary in China. Release

September 12 - 2seventy bio: CEO Nick Leschly is leading a long list of 2seventy bio employees who are heading out the door. With rival drugs putting its approved cell therapy under pressure, the bluebird bio spinout is eliminating 176 roles—a 40% reduction in 2seventy’s head count. Story


August—23 companies

August 31 - Sana Biotechnology: The CAR-T company isn't disclosing how many employees have been impacted by its latest round of layoffs, but confirmed with Fierce Biotech that it has sought further “operational efficiencies.” The workforce reduction marks the second round of layoffs in less than a year after the company let go of 15% of staff in November 2022. Story

August 31 - NexImmune: The immunotherapy biotech is halving its head count after a series of cuts over the past year. The latest layoffs will leave the biotech with a team of 22 full-time employees, down from 47 now and the 74 it had back in March 2022. Chief Financial Officer John Trainer is among the people leaving the biotech. Story

August 31 - Sage Therapeutics: After alluding to potential layoffs in August following an FDA rejection, Sage is sending 40% of its team out the door. Alongside a pipeline trim, the biotech is also saying goodbye to long-standing Chief Scientific Officer Al Robichaud, Ph.D., along with Chief Development Officer Jim Doherty and Mark Pollack, senior vice president of medical affairs. Story

August 30 - Poxel: French biotech Poxel expanded on the previously disclosed layoffs announced at the end of 2022 in its latest earnings report. The company says it now has 16 employees compared to 37 in December 2022, a 57% reduction. Release

August 29 - Notch Therapeutics: The cell therapy biotech is closing one of its three centers and is working to find positions for its displaced staff at other companies in the industry. The shutdown will impact about 25 people, with some of those team members being offered relocation spots at the company's Toronto or Seattle centers. Story

August 23 - Apellis Pharmaceuticals: The biopharma is culling two preclinical assets and laying off 25% of its workforce to claw back $300 million in savings. The cuts will send around 225 employees out the door by the end of the third quarter. Story

August 23 - Agenus: The immuno-oncology company is putting one combo program center stage, pausing all other unpartnered programs and sending 25% of employees packing. In 2021, the biotech had to pull the combo CTLA-4 antibody botensilimab and the PD-1 antibody balstilimab from FDA consideration for cervical cancer. Now, Agenus hopes its cost-cutting measures will save $40 million that can be redirected to accelerate the lead program’s development as it gears up to resubmit to regulators next year. Story

August 22 - Novartis: After cutting hundreds of jobs in New Jersey around the start of this year, the Big Pharma is at it again. Novartis plans to lay off 103 employees at its its U.S. headquarters in East Hanover, effective in November. The cut positions are in clinical operations as part of its new approach to “enable faster trial recruitment and enhanced trial delivery,” a spokesperson told Fierce Pharma. Story

August 22 - Lava Therapeutics: The immuno-oncology biotech is trimming its team by 36% after reprioritizing its pipeline after discontinuing a phase 1/2a trial of LAVA-051 for advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia and multiple myeloma in June. The company said the cuts have stretched its cash runway into 2026. Release

August 22 - Aravive: Still reeling from a phase 3 ovarian cancer flop, the cash-strapped biotech has “several weeks” to find a partner or funding—and is laying off 70% of its staff to preserve the little money it has left. Aravive ended last year with 23 full-time employees, suggesting that only a handful of staffers will remain after the cuts. Story

August 17 - Biogen: After shrinking the company’s head count by nearly 900 people last year, a fresh round of job cuts targeting 1,000 positions has kicked off. Most notices will be handed out by the end of September, according to a Biogen spokesperson, though they declined to confirm the exact number of employees or the functions involved right now. Story

August 17 - BlueRock Therapeutics: The Bayer-bought cell therapy biotech is shrinking its pipeline and laying off 12% of the team across three sites. Story

August 15 - Alaunos Therapeutics: The Houston-area biotech is cutting loose its only clinical-stage asset and letting go 60% of staff less than two years after rebranding and refocusing on TCR-T cell therapies. Story

August 14 - Thermo Fisher Scientific: The drugmaker is laying off 205 staffers across two separate sites in Alachua, Fla., that handle process and analytical development for early clinical trials, plus commercial-scale contract manufacturing capabilities for advanced therapies. The layoff round is set to go into effect from Oct. 9 through end of next March. Story

August 14 - BioXcel Therapeutics: The Connecticut-based biotech laying off 60% of its staff and narrowing its clinical focus to cope with the collapse of its cash runway. The workforce reduction will slash its head count from 190 to 80. Story

August 11 - Bristol Myers Squibb: New Jersey pharma Bristol Myers Squibb is laying off more than 100 people after a second-quarter earnings miss. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the downsizing but wouldn't specify exactly how many employees were impacted. Story

August 10 - Atreca: The California biotech has decided to stop work on its lead candidate, switch its focus to preclinical antibody-drug conjugates and lay off 40% of its staff. At the end of last year, after laying off 25% of its staff, Atreca had 90 full-time employees. Story

August 9 - Galera Therapeutics: The Pennsylvania-based biotech has slammed the emergency button in the wake of a complete response letter from the FDA for a radiotherapy complication drug, jettisoning 70% of its employees. Story

August 9 - Inovio: The biotech is making its third round of layoffs in 13 months, stopping its cervical lesion program to focus on its closest-to-market options and putting 58 people out of work in the process. Story

August 8 - Salarius Pharmaceuticals: Despite a string of recent good news on the clinical front, Salarius is halving its workforce and bracing for the potential end of the company in a last ditch attempt to extend its resources. Story

August 3 - Celsius Therapeutics: Third Rock-launched Celsius Therapeutics is laying off 75% of its team just as it's launched a phase 1 trial for a treatment for inflammatory bowel treatment, according to STAT News. A spokesperson for Celsius said the biotech "will continue operating in a smaller and more focused format and will retain a team to advance CEL383." STAT

August 2 - Karyopharm Therapeutics: Karyopharm has cut 20% of its staff as 2023 projected revenues of blood cancer drug Xpovio were cut by $15 million. The layoffs are expected to extend the companies cash runway into late 2025. Story

August 1 - Intergalatic Therapeutics: Non-viral gene therapy biotech Intergalactic has crashed back to Earth, laying off all staff and seeking a buyer, according to the Boston Business Journal. An employee on LinkedIn said the startup struggled to raise new capital. Boston Business Journal


July—16 companies

July - 858 Therapeutics: Versant-backed 858 Therapeutics cut an unspecified number of researchers and closed an NYC office associated with the biotech's purchase of Gotham Therapeutics. 858 unveiled in September 2021 after closing a $60 million series A. Story

July 28 - Homology Medicines: The gene therapy-focused company is pointing the figure at the “current financing environment” as the reason to for an 87% workforce reduction. As well as laying off the majority of staff, the company is stopping all development programs beyond obligations in ongoing trials. Story

July 28 - Ribon Therapeutics: The oncology biotech has discontinued work across its preclinical programs and platform to conserve resources, a Ribon spokesperson told Fierce Biotech. The company has also laid off an undisclosed number of employees as it prioritizes its two remaining clinical programs. 

July 27 - Mersana Therapeutics: The failure of the biotech's lead ovarian cancer drug in a phase 1/2 trial has prompted layoffs for half of the company's workforce. Story

July 26 - Infinity Pharmaceuticals: With hopes of a merger with MEI Pharma now sunk for good, Infinity is jettisoning 78% of its staff—21 people—and three board members to stay afloat while it scans the horizon for another financial life raft. Story

July 25 - Biogen: After a series of costly failures in the development and launch of the company's Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm, Biogen is halting the development of at least four investigational drugs and reducing its head count by 1,000 by 2025. With the company starting 2023 with 8,725 employees, that’s an 11.5% workforce reduction. Story

July 24 - Heron Therapeutics: Heron is turning to layoffs for the second time in 13 months to cut costs that continue to dwarf revenue. The biotech is now laying off 25% of staff in addition to other measures. Story

July 20 - Passage Bio: The biotech has laid off 26% of staff, primarily employees in its chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) group who are tasked with ensuring drug quality throughout the product development life cycle. Story

July 19 - FibroGen: San Francisco-based FibroGen is cutting nearly a third of its staff after teasing significant cost reductions in June. The company had to shave costs after a trio of recent clinical trial failures. Story

July 19 - ImmuneID: Arch-backed ImmuneID is said it had implemented a restructuring to afford future clinical develop of its lead asset, according to a statement given to Fierce Biotech. Some employees on LinkedIn reported being laid off, though the company wouldn't confirm how many staffers were impacted. Story

July 19 - Amarin: The company is restructuring under new leadership after a board takeover by activist investor Sarissa Capital three months ago. Amarin will lay off its entire U.S. sales force and reduce its non-sales staff by 30%. Of its 385 employees, Amarin will let go of 120. Story

July 18 - Pieris Pharmaceuticals: AstraZeneca has sailed away from a licensing deal for Pieris’ asthma med, forcing the biotech to begin charting a new corporate course and lay off 70% of its employees. Story

July 14 -  Capsida Biotherapeutics: The AAV-focused gene therapy maker has shared plans to conserve resources and lay off an undisclosed amount of employees. The cuts could impact as much as 25% of the team, a source familiar with the decision said. Story

July 12 - Avrobio: The biotech is stopping work on a trio of gene therapies, laying off half of its staff and looking for buyers interested in its remaining assets. The company ended last year with 78 full-time employees. Story

July 12 - Theratechnologies: The Canada-based biotech is experiencing a slump in sales for its approved Trogarzo for HIV infection and Egrifta, a treatment for the fat that can accumulate in people infected with the virus. Now, with sales falling short of expectations, the biotech is reducing its R&D head count by an unknown number. Story

July 11 - BAKX Therapeutics: The small biotech focused on the cell death pathway has dissolved, with most of the rank-and-file staff let go as of July 1. Remaining executives will head out the door on August 1. Story


June—11 companies

June 29 - Eiger: After the FDA denied emergency use authorization for the company’s COVID-19 treatment last year, Eiger has pivoted toward phase 3-stage avexitide to treat metabolic disease. In tandem, the company is laying off 25% of staff and limiting spending on its hepatitis delta virus program to stretch its cash until the fourth quarter of 2024. Story

June 22 - Intercept: After its second FDA rejection for Ocaliva, Intercept has decided to discontinue all NASH-related investment and restructure operations, with the goal to save about $140 million in operating costs. The company will trim about a third of its workforce, with the majority of the layoffs done by the end of the year. Story

June 22 - Federation Bio: Months after dosing the first patient in a phase 1 trial, Federation Bio is laying off an undisclosed number of staff. The biotech said in a statement that it "very recently" underwent a reduction in workforce. Story

June 21 - Nutcracker Therapeutics: Nutcracker laid off a dozen employees on June 15, two sources familiar with the decision told Fierce Biotech. A spokesperson for the company declined to confirm or deny the layoffs but said no pipeline programs have been axed. The company closed a $167 million series C round less than 18 months ago. Story

June 19 - Molecular Templates: After halving its head count in March to reduce costs, the biotech's CD38-directed cancer candidate was hit by a FDA hold that lifted at the start of June. Now, the company has announced another wave of layoffs, with plans to let go 44% of the remaining staff. Story

June 16 - Surface Oncology: Surface Oncology is shrinking its workforce by 50% after agreeing to be bought by Coherus. It's Surface's second round of layoffs since November, when the biotech cut a fifth of its staff. Story

June 13 - Encoded Therapeutics: GV-backed gene therapy maker Encoded Therapeutics is laying off "close to 10%" of its staff, according to an emailed statement from Chief Business Officer David McNinch. The executive said the move came after a "critical evaluation" of the biotech's priorities and that Encoded has enough cash to last into 2026. Story

June 13 - Xalud Therapeutics: Xalud is downsizing after pivoting internal development efforts toward an earlier-stage ALS program, according to a statement from the company. The biotech added that it's looking for a partner to further develop lead osteoarthritis med, XT-150, which recently wrapped up a phase 2b trial. 

June 12 - Rejuvenate Bio: Since launching with $10 million in 2021, Rejuvenate Bio has been bulking up its workforce but now the company is cutting back. A reprioritization is underway “to better position the organization,” according to a June 12 statement. The longevity biotech plans to file a request for human testing of lead asset RJB-01 next year. The company declined to confirm the number of people that would be let go, but 54 employees are listed on its LinkedIn.

June 8 - GreenLight Biosciences: Shortly after the biotech put out news of a 51% reduction of its team, a notice revealed 96 of the layoffs will happen at facilities in Massachusetts next month. The RNA specialist recently accepted a $45.5 million deal that will end its short stay on the public markets. Story

June 2 - Oncorus: The RNA-focused company is reducing its head count by 55 people, “representing substantially all of Oncorus’ workforce.” Heading out the door will also be CEO Ted Ashburn, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer Stephen Harbin and Chief Medical Officer John Goldberg, M.D. All desks are expected to be clear by August. Story


May—12 companies

May 31 - Frequency Therapeutics: For the second time this year, the biotech is laying off 55% of its workforce. The most recent layoffs round will be completed by June 9 and was made to "better align the company’s workforce with the changing needs of its business," according to SEC filings. Release

May 30 - Rain Oncology: After a phase 3 fail, the precision oncology biotech is saying farewell to its chief medical officer, halting programs and laying off 65% of its workforce. Story

May 25 - BenevolentAI: The London-based company is cutting back its drug development operation in the wake of a midphase flop, laying off up to 180 staff, reducing its lab footprint, pausing some programs and dropping its lead candidate. The company had 363 permanent employees when it published its annual report earlier this year. Story

May 23 - PTC Therapeutics: Announcing a phase 3 Friedreich ataxia clinical trial fail, PTC said it would discontinue its preclinical and early research gene therapy programs, as well as lay off 8% of its employees, to reduce operating expenses by 15%. Story

May 12 - Athenex: As the New York-based company files for bankruptcy and looks for buyers, it is also laying off 123 workers at two manufacturing plants, according to a WARN notice. The workforce reduction is set to happen in phases on May 12, June 29 and August 11. Release

May 10 - Gossamer Bio: After several clinical setbacks, Gossamer is going all in on one asset, laying off 25% of its staff and stopping work on all other assets to free up money for a phase 3 trial of its pulmonary arterial hypertension prospect. Story

May 9 - Novavax: The vaccine company is reducing its head count by 25%, or around 500 people. After trying to cut costs without laying off staff, the company has now accepted it will need to part ways with hundreds of employees to align its spending with the dwindling size of the COVID-19 opportunity. Story

May 9 - Bristol Myers Squibb: After unveiling more than 250 job cuts in San Diego in September, BMS is turning its staff reduction campaign northeast. Starting at the end of May, the Big Pharma will roll out job cuts for 48 employees in New Jersey, according to a WARN report. Story

May 9 - ADC Therapeutics: The biotech is joining the ever-growing roster of drug developers shrinking their head counts and culling early-stage candidates, laying off 17% of its workforce. Story

May 8 - Acasti Pharma: The Quebec-based company, which develops new formulations of approved drugs, announced plans to transform into an “agile biopharma” laser-focused on getting its potential subarachnoid hemorrhage treatment GTX-104 to market. This change means a severe reduction in head count, including discontinuing operations in Canada and swapping in a new management team. Story

May 8 - EQRx: A few months after an 18% workforce reduction, the immuno-inflammatory company is cutting more staffers, while also cutting ties with two of its partners and slashing all assets from its pipeline except one. The most recent workforce reduction eliminates 170 roles, or about 57% of EQRx's team. Story

May 4 - Selecta Biosciences: Selecta is trimming its staff by 25% as part of a larger effort to "streamline operations and prioritize investments." The company plans to incur $1 million in severance and benefit-related costs. Release


April—13 companies

April - Ipsen: Alongside terminating one of its programs, Ipsen let go 21 members of its lab staff, a company spokesperson confirmed with Fierce Biotech.  

April - Affimed: A phase 2 fail prompted the end of plans to develop a bispecific antibody as a monotherapy in lymphoma, as well as a 25% head count reduction. Story

April 27 - Sangamo Therapeutics: A month after being abandoned by both Biogen and Novartis, Sangamo is now laying off around 120 employees—27% of its U.S. workforce—as the genomic medicines biotech refocuses on three key areas. Story

April 26 - Evelo Biosciences: The Flagship Pioneering-founded biotech is moving on from its lead asset after additional data in patients with atopic dermatitis mirrored past failures, laying off staff in tandem with the data flop. The round of layoffs follows a February workforce reduction of 48 people, though the number of staffers impacted by the newest cuts hasn't been publicly disclosed. Story

April 18 - Nektar Therapeutics: Almost exactly a year after the biotech jettisoned 70% of its staff, Nektar is now laying off 60% of its San Francisco-based workforce. The layoffs are part of a reorganization that will also include a C-suite reorganization. Story

April 14 - Talaris Therapeutics: After cutting two kidney transplant trials along with a third of its staff in February, the biotech is now letting go of 95% of remaining employees. The termination of about 80 employees will also see Talaris lose almost its entire C-suite. Story

April 12 - GentiBio: GentiBio had a "relatively small" round of layoffs several weeks ago, CEO Adel Nada, M.D., confirmed to Fierce Biotech. He said that the job cuts have no impact on the company's operations or collaborations. 

April 12 - Aeglea BioTherapeutics: In response to lackluster interim data from one of its two remaining rare disease candidates, Aeglea is “exploring strategic alternatives” and letting go of all but 10 employees. Less than a year ago, the biotech laid off 25% of staff after receiving a refusal-to-file letter from the FDA for its rare disease drug pegzilarginase. Story

April 11 - Biogen: After downsizing last year, the biotech giant is once again moving ahead with layoffs. A company spokesperson told Fierce Pharma that Biogen recently informed some U.S. staffers "that their roles are being impacted, as a result of decisions designed to optimize our business strategies and align our cost and revenue base." The spokesperson declined to detail the number of layoffs or the types of roles being affected. Story

April 6 - Takeda: The company is moving away from early-stage work in adeno-associated virus-based gene therapies and the rare hematology spaces, with as many as 186 employees are set to lose their jobs at various Massachusetts sites.  Story

April 5 - NGM Bio: The developer of four solid tumor candidates revealed that its workforce will be reduced by 33%, or 75 people. The decision was made in response to the failure of the phase 2 trial back in October 2022. Story

April 4 - Freeline Therapeutics: Another quarterly update has brought more bad news to Freeline's team, after the company announced layoffs to 30% of the staff. The move comes three months after Freeline cut 30 employees. Story

April 4 - VBI VaccinesVBI is laying off up to 35% of the team as the company doubles-down on developing a hepatitis B vaccine. The company's CFO and head of business development is departing as part of the organizational changes. Story


March—20 companies

March 31 - Vedere Bio II: The opthamology-focused gene therapy biotech is shuttering after failing to impress in preclinical studies. It’s unclear how many staffers are losing their jobs in the process. Story

March 31 - Aridis Pharmaceuticals: After AstraZeneca terminated a pneumonia pact over a payment dispute, Aridis is laying off a fifth of its workforce. In the wake of the “sudden, unexpected termination,” Aridis has placed a phase 3 trial of suvratoxumab in ventilator-associated pneumonia on hold and let go of seven full-time employees. The biotech now has 26 staff members left. Story

March 30 - Molecular Templates: The Texas-based biotech is halving its 222-person team, stopping clinical development of a HER2 drug candidate and focusing its preclinical work on collaborations. Story

March 28 - Alector: The biotech expects 30 employees to be affected by its 11% head count reduction. The restructuring is tied to the company's previously announced prioritization of its late-stage immuno-neurology programs, including its TREM2 and progranulin product candidates, it explained in an SEC filing.

March 28 - Ferring PharmaceuticalsSwiss pharma Ferring is closing a US-based research institute after more than 25 years, cutting approximately 89 employees in the process. The Ferring Research Institute opened in 1996 and recently completed a new expansion project. Story

March 28 - Applied Molecular TransportMore than half of AMT's workforce is being shown the exit as the biotech hunts for strategic alternatives. As part of the overhaul—which in total is impacting 57% of the team—CEO Tahir Mahmood, Ph.D., is leaving his position, although he'll stay on the company's board. Story

March 28 - Evaxion Biotech: The Danish biotech reduced staff from 65 to 50 employees, of which 10 were direct layoffs and the rest were reduction of planned hires, a company spokesperson told Fierce Biotech. Release

March 27 - Gamida CellGamida Cell is turning to layoffs once again, just more than year after the company laid of 10% of the team. Now, 17% of staff are being cut after the company culled work on an NK cell therapy. Story

March 23 - Genentech: The Roche company is winding down operations at its commercial biologics plant in San Francisco, the company told Fierce Pharma. About 280 employees are set to lose their jobs, though “that number is dropping a bit every day,” Andi Goddard, Roche’s senior vice president of pharma technical operations and global head of quality and compliance, said. When Genentech first revealed plans for the plant closure to employees in 2019, the company expected to lay off around 900 people, she said. Instead of laying off the entire team, most staffers have transitioned to a new clinical supply center in the same city. Story

March 21 - Evofem Biosciences: After laying off 39 people at the end of last year, the women's health biotech is pushing eight more employees, including its chief commercial officer, out the door. The change is intended to reduce payroll expenses and support its goal of reaching cash flow break-even by the end of the year. Story

March 10 - Olema Oncology: An R&D rethink has triggered a restructuring that will reduce head count by 25%. The layoffs will hit research, early development, and general and administrative functions. Two members of the C-suite, Chief Business Officer Kinney Horn and Chief Research Officer Cyrus Harmon, Ph.D., are among the departing staffers. Story 

March 9 - Neoleukin Therapeutics: Months after laying off 40% of its staff and dropping its lead candidate, the de novo protein specialist has revealed plans to part with 70% of its remaining employees, including its CEO, and hunker down while it searches for a strategic alternative. Story

March 9 - Coherus BioSciences: The California company, which touts a Neulasta biosimilar and has several planned commercial launches set for this year, is seeking strategic alternatives for a NASH candidate and reducing its workforce by 20%, according to SEC filings. The layoffs will begin March 10 and impact 60 employees, leaving about 300 remaining staff members.

March 8 - CODA Biotherapeutics: Chemogenetics-focused biotech Coda Biotherapeutics has shutdown, a spokesperson for backer Versant Ventures confirmed to Fierce Biotech. The press representative did not immediately respond when asked how many employees were affected. 

March 8 - Johnson & Johnson: Job cuts have now reached J&J’s medtech division, with the company planning to begin laying off a total of 352 workers in California at the end of April, according to WARN notices. Story

March 6 - Atai Life Sciences: Exactly two months after the biotech's ketamine-like drug failed a phase 2 trial in depression, the mental health-focused company is laying off 30% of staff as it channels resources into pushing candidates through mid-stage trials. Story

March 2 - Novo Nordisk: Unlike most of the layoffs on this list, Novo Nordisk isn't so much reducing head count as reallocating it. The Danish drugmaker will bring 200 jobs to the greater Boston area, but will be letting go about about 20 employees at its Seattle labs and around 80 staff at its Indianapolis R&D facility. These employees will be given the chance to "pursue open positions at other locations,” the company said. Release

March 2 - MorphoSys: The biotech, once an engine of innovation for Big Pharma, is stopping all preclinical work and laying off 17% of its headquarters staff to throw all resources behind mid- to late-stage oncology programs. Release

March 1 - G1 Therapeutics: The cancer-focused company is shrinking by 30% to save money for trial readouts, although it noted that the sales team behind its FDA-approved myeloprotection therapy Cosela remains intact. The belt-tightening is expected to allow operations through all upcoming readouts of Cosela in other indications. Release

March 1 - Jaguar Gene Therapy: The private biotech has reduced its workforce by about 20%, a company spokesperson confirmed with Fierce Biotech. The gene therapy company cited a "challenging financing environment" as reason for the culls, but said their pipeline remains intact.

March 1 - Johnson & Johnson: The pharma giant is cutting 57 positions in its consumer branch in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, according to a local WARN notice. Story


February—24 companies

Feb. 28 - Theravance Biopharma: Theravance is shedding 17% of its staff as part of a pipeline cleanup, which centers on halting the development of a phase 2-stage JAK inhibitor program. Story

Feb. 27 - Apexigen: Seven months after going public via a SPAC merger, the Epitomics spinout is already culling 55% of its workforce and looking for a potential buyer or other escape route. Story

Feb. 26 - Aptinyx: To save money and "better align its workforce with the needs of its business," the biotech is laying off 60% of its workforce, according to SEC filings.

Feb. 23 - Jounce Therapeutics: After deciding it lacks the means to advance its clinical candidates, Jounce has laid off 57% of its staff and entered into a reverse merger with Redx Pharma. Story

Feb. 23 - Impel Pharmaceuticals: The migraine therapy maker is reducing its head count by 16% to save cash, with R&D bearing the brunt. Chief Medical Officer Stephen Shrewsbury, M.D., is also heading out the door and will depart at the end of March. Story

Feb. 23 - Cybin: The psychedelics-focused company reduced its head count by 15% in hopes of clawing back “millions of dollars” from its annual cash burn rate. The staff were let go Feb. 22. Story

Feb. 23 - EQRx: As part of a restructure, the biotech is laying off 18% of its team. The plan, which will see the company's workforce drop to around 300 employees by the end of March, should save $18 million annually. Story

Feb. 22 - Graphite Bio: Two executives and half of the biotech's team are headed out the door after a review of the business. The lay offs are part of a corporate restructuring aimed at minimizing cash burn while the company “explores strategic alternatives.” Story

Feb. 22 - Quantum Genomics: In addition to wishing its CEO farewell, Quantum Genomics is laying off an unknown number of staff amid a restructuring of the organization. The company wouldn't specify how many people were impacted but said the cuts would be focused on people working on the company's top asset, firibastat. Story

Feb. 22 - Bayer: The Big Pharma has big ambitions for its Berkeley, California, campus. But even a rapidly growing site is not immune to job cuts, with 55 layoffs planned to take effect by March 31. Story

Feb. 21 - Aileron Therapeutics: In light of disappointing phase 1b data, Aileron has decided to lay off six of its remaining nine staff over the coming weeks. Story

Feb. 17 - Pfizer: The Big Pharma is slated to lay off staff members at a La Jolla research site that focuses on oncology and vaccines, according to a California WARN report. Specifically, there will be 25 employees affected on March 27; 60 lay offs on April 10; and 111 employees impacted in total by June 19, a Pfizer spokesperson told Fierce Biotech.

Feb. 16 - Chimera Bioengineering: Chimera is cutting 40% of its team amid funding challenges to preserve cash. But CEO Vlad Hogenhuis, M.D., said in a statement that the company is still working to close a $20 million fundraising round and plans to launch its lead asset into the clinic in early 2024. 

Feb. 16 - Talaris Therapeutics: A third of Talaris' team is headed out the door due to a pipeline restructure and strategic review aimed at optimizing shareholder value. Story

Feb. 13 - Frequency Therapeutics: After the biotech's phase 2b ear program failed to hit any trial goals, the biotech has axed the program and will lay off 55% of its team by April 30. Story

Feb. 9 - Eliem Therapeutics:
The biotech has decided its two years of cash looks dicey in the current capital environment—and has responded by shelving a phase 2-ready depression drug candidate and laying off 55% of staff in a pivot to preclinical. The company now expects to extend the end of its cash runway from 2025 to 2027. Story

Feb. 8 - Aligos Therapeutics: In attempts to extend its cash runway, the San Francisco-based biotech is laying off about 10% of its employees. The company said it has reduced its head count by 25% since the start of 2022. Story

Feb. 6 - Magenta Therapeutics: After announcing plans to close down last week, Magenta has cut 56 positions, or 84% of staff, in an effort to preserve financial resources. At least five C-suite executives are also headed out the doorStory

Feb. 6 - Neurona:
After conducting a financial review, the cell therapy biotech has laid off a quarter of its staff, or 18 of its 68 total employees, a spokesperson told Fierce Biotech. Story

Feb. 3 - Johnson & Johnson:
J&J's Janssen pharmaceutical unit is overhauling operations for its infectious diseases and vaccine groups, with sweeping layoffs expected to claim staffers' jobs across the globe. Some staff members have yet to be told that their positions will be cut. The pharma is conducting a "comprehensive review" of its portfolio, according to internal documents and video obtained by Fierce. Story

Feb. 3 - Vyant Bio: 
The small drug discovery biotech is taking steps to wind down, including a workforce reduction and saying goodbye to CEO John Roberts. Story

Feb. 3 - Eisai: The company is laying off 91 U.S. employees effective April 30, according to a WARN alert from New Jersey. The public disclosure lists the location of the layoffs as Nutley, New Jersey, where Eisai recently relocated its U.S., though a spokesperson said only three of the impacted employees are based in Nutley, with another 88 are situated elsewhere. Story

Feb. 1 - Instil Bio: Another round of layoffs is underway at Instil Bio after the cell therapy biotech cut 60% of staff in December. This time, about 15 employees at a manufacturing site in California will be impacted as Instil shifts operations over to the U.K. Story

Feb. 1 - Evelo Biosciences:
 Alongside a disappointing data drop, Evelo is laying off 45% of its staff, or about 48 employees. Story 

January—14 companies

Jan. 31 - Inovio: Six months after laying off 18% of its workforce, Inovio is sending 11% of remaining employees heading for the exits as the biotech unveils yet another restructuring. Story

Jan. 30 - Quince Therapeutics: The biotech, formerly known as Cortexyme, is laying off 47% of its staff as part of a cost reduction plan. The layoffs will start in February and be completed by April. Story

Jan. 30 - Amgen: The threat of layoffs continues to loom for companies large and small, as seen in Amgen's cut of 300 jobs in the U.S.—mainly along commercial lines. Story

Jan. 24 - Finch Therapeutics: The Massachusetts-based biotech is laying off 95% of its staff as the company grapples with a multitude of issues, including a frosty funding forecast and slow enrollment of a phase 3 trial, which the biotech has decided to stop. Story

Jan. 23 - Merck KGaA: The German Big Pharma confirmed to Fierce Biotech that layoffs had hit the company's U.S. wing, EMD Serono. Specifically, more than 130 employees were leaving an R&D outpost in Billerica, Massachusetts, accounting for 26% of the team there. Story

Jan. 19 - Cyteir Therapeutics: Laying off 70% of the workforce will leave the biotech with just 15 employees as it refocuses on one cancer indication for its monocarboxylate transporter inhibitor. Story

Jan. 19 - ReNeuron: The British biotech slashed its workforce by 40% as part of a restructuring to extend the stem cell player’s cash runway out to 2024, easing the pressures that built up as the company struggled to raise money last year. Story 

Jan. 13 - Zymergen: After being acquired by Ginkgo Bioworks last year, Zymergen is set to lay off 29 employees by mid-March, according to a California WARN report

Jan. 9 - Editas: After a tough year that saw its lead asset fall apart in the clinic, Editas has let go 20% of staff and reorganized its pipeline. Chief Scientific Officer Mark Shearman, Ph.D., will also leave the gene editing biotech. Story

Jan. 6 - Elevation Oncology: Thirty percent of Elevation Oncology's workforce are now out of work as the biotech pauses development on the solid tumor therapy seribantumab. CEO Shawn Leland is also headed out the door. Story

Jan. 5 - TCR² Therapeutics: TCR² Therapeutics announced a 40% staff reduction along with new development priorities. But Fierce Biotech learned this was the second round of layoffs in less than six months after the company cut 20% of its staff in August. The company did not disclose the first round of cuts over the summer. Story

Jan. 5 - Fate Therapeutics: In another biotech reset, Fate Therapeutics is letting go of more than half its staff as a partnership with Johnson & Johnson's Janssen crumbles. Story

Jan. 5 - Century Therapeutics: A quarter of the workforce at Century Therapeutics is heading for the exit as the company reprioritizes operations. The biotech will close lab operations in Seattle and Hamilton, with research work consolidated in Philadelphia. R&D chief Hy Levitsky, M.D., Ph.D., is also resigning effective the end of the month. Story

Jan. 5 - Y-mAbs Therapeutics: After its rare pediatric cancer drug was rejected by the FDA, the company faced some tough decisions, culminating in the decision to cut 35% of its staff. Story