Impax cans 25% of its R&D staff in a cost-cutting gambit

Impax CEO Fred Wilkinson

Impax Laboratories ($IPXL) is slashing its R&D payroll and moving away from early-stage research, a move designed to save cash in the midst of a costly transition.

The California company is letting go of 42 R&D employees, about 25% of its research staff, in an effort to save about $8 million a year. From here on out, Impax's branded R&D efforts will focus on products in Phase II and above, the company said, jettisoning some nascent projects and homing in on assets with a clear path to market.

"By leveraging our resources in this manner, we improve our R&D efficiency and effectiveness," CEO Fred Wilkinson said in a statement. "This change is also designed to ensure we are investing in internal projects and external opportunities that enhance our pipelines, support our growth and offer the greatest return on investment, with the goal to create value for patients, customers and shareholders."

Leading Impax's pipeline is Rytary, a long-delayed investigational therapy for Parkinson's disease once partnered with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). After manufacturing issues spiked a 2013 attempt at FDA approval, Impax purportedly fixed its process problems on the way to another overture at the agency, now expecting a final yes or no by Jan. 9.

Behind its lead candidate, the company is developing IPX239, a bupivacaine patch for nerve pain, and IPX203, another Parkinson's drug. Impax also has a portfolio of 46 in-development generics, 23 of which have pending FDA filings on the books.

- read the statement

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