Santhera cuts drug discovery work

Swiss drugmaker Santhera announced today that it is cutting its drug discovery efforts in order to give the company enough cash to survive until its lead drug Catena is approved in the US and Europe. In May the drug failed a late-stage trial for the treatment of Friedreich's Ataxia, a neuromuscular disease.

"We can't afford in-house drug discovery in the current financial environment," said the company's CEO Klaus Schollmeier in an interview.

Santhera will concentrate its preclinical activities on reprofiling existing molecules and supporting clinical development programs as well as the evaluation of in-licensing opportunities. In-vitro and in-vivo biology know-how will be retained as well as all expertise required for the partnering of the assets related to Santhera's advanced MC4 receptor antagonist program. But in-house drug discovery, which means the company will reduce its 82- person workforce by 26, predominantly from drug discovery.

"The measure will assure that we keep enough financial flexibility until Catena is approved in the U.S. and Europe and for other future growth opportunities" explained Schollmeier.

- here's the report
- check out the WSJ interview

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