ObsEva demolishes US C-suite in latest cost-cutting measures as Nasdaq delisting looms

Having drastically reduced head count and sold off one of two remaining assets, ObsEva has now turned its sights on the company’s U.S.-based leadership as a way of clawing back some more savings.

Yesterday, the women’s-health focused biotech waved goodbye to CEO Brian O’Callaghan, Chief Commercial Officer Clive Bertram, Chief Clinical Officer Brandi Howard and Chief Transformation Officer Luigi Marro, the company announced in a release Friday morning.

As well as consolidating the company’s operations in its home country of Switzerland, ObsEva will also propose a reduced board of directors at the next annual general meeting. In total, the top-heavy reorganization is expected to bring in annual savings of around $3.5 million.

The latest restructuring comes at a tough time for the cash-strapped company. ObsEva is retiring its convertible debt ahead of an expected Nasdaq delisting and also plans to de-register from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company will maintain its current listing on the SIX Swiss Exchange, however.

Companies need to maintain a share price above $1 to retain a Nasdaq listing, but ObsEva’s stock plummeted past that marker in July 2022. Investors were reacting at the time to the FDA’s claim that ObsEva’s highly touted uterine fibroid candidate linzagolix wasn’t fit for an on-time approval. In response, the company announced a 70% reduction in workforce in September, with the remaining staff focused on preterm labor treatment ebopiprant and oral oxytocin receptor agonist nolasiban.

The company had then hoped that selling off ebopiprant to Xoma last November would keep its stock above the water line, but shares have sat at around 20 cents apiece for the past six months.

By letting go of its Boston-based executives and consolidating remaining operations in Switzerland, the company hopes to focus resources on developing nolasiban as a way to improve in vitro fertilization success rates as well as continuing to manage its out-licensing programs. A phase 1b trial for nolasiban is penciled in for the second half of the year.

“The board believes we are better positioned to deliver shareholder value following these difficult reorganization decisions,” the board’s chairwoman, Annette Clancy, said in the release. “We look forward to strengthening the company by continuing the clinical development of nolasiban and with the future development of our out-licensed programs.”

Clancy and outgoing CEO O’Callaghan are among the five board members who will be stepping down. The biotech has already began a search for a CEO who will be based at the company’s home of Geneva.