Macrocure axes staff as PhIII flops take toll on prospects

Macrocure ($MCUR) is hunkering down, laying off two-thirds of its staff and weighing up strategic alternatives as it seeks a way forward for the company. The actions follow a pair of Phase III flops that wiped 90% off Macrocure's share price and left its pipeline in tatters.

Going into 2015, Macrocure had 28 employees, cash in the bank from its $54 million (€45 million) Nasdaq IPO and a pair of Phase III trials on the cusp of delivering data. But with both trials missing their primary endpoints, Macrocure has decided to lay off around two-thirds of its staff to lower its costs while it figures out what, if anything, is next for the company. Macrocure started looking into strategic alternatives for the business immediately after learning that the second Phase III trial had missed its mark late last month.

However, with Macrocure effectively all in on CureXcell, the regenerative medicine investigated in both Phase III trials, the company's options are limited. The focus for now is on trying to salvage a reason for optimism from the wreckage of the Phase III trials. "We are analyzing data from both Phase III studies in [venous leg ulcers] and [diabetic foot ulcers] to understand why these trials did not meet their study endpoints and to determine if there is continuing value to the underlying technology," Macrocure CEO Nissim Mashiach said in a statement. 

Petah Tikva, Israel-based Macrocure had hoped CureXcell, a mix of processed white blood cells, would facilitate wound healing through the secretion of growth factors. Macrocure tried to prime the blood cells, which it sourced from volunteers, to produce the growth factors by exposing them to certain conditions, a process it dubbed its "hypo-osmotic shock cell activation technology." With the treatment failing to live up to expectations, Macrocure is left with $30 million in cash and no pipeline projects to spend it on.

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