ThromboGenics spins out cancer R&D, scales down staff amid lackluster Jetrea sales

Disappointing sales of ThromboGenics' only marketed product, Jetrea, have taken their toll on the company's profits this year. To get back in the black, the Belgian company now says it's spinning out its cancer R&D activities to focus on the struggling eye drug.

ThromboGenics will have a stake in the new venture, which will align itself with the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology. The company said it will announce more details about those plans in September.

Thanks to Jetrea, ThromboGenics' earnings dipped into the red with a net loss of €23.9 million ($31.5 million) in the first half of 2014 against €54.6 million net profit in the first 6 months of 2013.

Jetrea sales amounted to just €5 million in the U.S. in the first half of 2014, contributing to a meager €7.1 million in revenue during the first half of 2014. That's compared to €102.7 million in the same period in 2013, which included €90 million in milestone payments.

To help its cash flow, the Belgian company has already slashed its staff to 150 employees from 192 at the end of 2013--a 22% downsizing. But that hasn't been enough to compensate for its slumping profit and floundering sales. 

After shooting down the option in June to put itself up for sale, ThromboGenics now has a long way to go before it reaches its goal of €100 million in revenue by 2019. To help with that task, the company teamed up with Novartis' ($NVS) eye care unit Alcon back in 2012 to market the drug outside of the U.S.  

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