Infinity Pharma axes 20% of jobs

Infinity Pharmaceuticals ($INFI) has cut 20% of its employees as the drug developer advances its lead candidates without R&D dollars from Mundipharma International, the company revealed Tuesday. The company also blamed its recent decision to end development of its lead anti-cancer compound saridegib for the staff cutbacks.

The layoffs hit about 40 employees at the Cambridge, MA-based company in June and July, leaving about 160 workers to carry on the work of developing its drugs against inflammation and cancer, a company spokeswoman told FierceBiotech via email. Infinity cut jobs "across all functions" of the organization during the two months, she said.

Infinity has realigned its spending after getting back full rights to its PI3K, FAAH and other programs from partners Mundipharma and Purdue Pharmaceutical Products in July. The deal lets Mundipharma out of providing R&D funding to Infinity, which is forging ahead with separate mid-stage trials to study its PI3K drug IPI-145 in patients with allergic asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Injectable meds dominate the market for rheumatoid arthritis treatments, and Infinity's IPI-145 offers a potential oral option for RA patients.

"Moving forward, we believe we are well positioned to select the optimal mix of financing and new strategic alliances to advance our portfolio of novel drug candidates," Adelene Perkins, Infinity's CEO, said in a statement.

With development of saridegib scrapped in June, Infinity plans to move forward with other anti-cancer contenders. Retaspimycin, a heat shock 90 inhibitor, is in mid-stage testing for non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of lung malignancy and one of the largest markets in the oncology field. And the company has expanded a Phase I study of IPI-145 in several blood cancers. The company expects to share more details on the study at a medical meeting later this year.

- here's the release