SciClone axes R&D staffers following trial

SciClone Pharmaceuticals' decision earlier this month to suspend its mid-stage pancreatic cancer trial for RP101 will cost the jobs of 17 percent of its U.S. workforce. The developer said that it was applying the axe largely in its R&D operations, but didn't reveal exactly how many people were being handed a pink slip.

"Throughout the year SciClone (SCLN) has been strongly focused on containing costs and closely managing expenses. The decision to reduce our workforce in the wake of the RP101 trial discontinuation was inevitable yet difficult, considering the high degree of talent and dedication of our employees," said Friedhelm Blobel, Ph.D., the CEO of SciClone. "We are committed to moving SciClone towards sustainable profitability. With streamlined operations, decreased expenditures, and expected robust global sales, we believe we are fully on track to realize that objective."

SciClone stopped the trial of RP101 at the recommendation of a safety panel. The Foster City, CA-based SciClone markets Zadaxin, which is used to treat hepatitis B and C. And it has set out to prove that Zadaxin can boost swine flu vaccines. Some analysts, including Rodman & Renshaw's Reni Benjamin, have continued to be bullish about the company's pipeline prospects.

- here's SciClone's release
- read the story from Reuters