Lpath eyes job cuts after a crushing AMD failure

Lpath's ($LPTN) in-development treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration flunked in Phase II, wrecking the company's value and setting a stage for a round of layoffs.

The drug, isonep, failed to meet its goals of improving vision in AMD patients who don't respond to standard anti-VEGF therapies, sending Lpath's shares down more than 80%. Now the company plans to "restructure its workforce and conduct a strategic evaluation of its research and development programs," Lpath said in a statement, looking to save money as it plots its next move.

The failure sent Lpath deep into penny-stock territory, and the company's unspecified cost cuts will only keep the doors open for another year at current cash levels, management said.

In March, Lpath endured a similar setback with the kidney cancer drug asonep, which failed to hit the mark in a Phase IIa trial.

But Lpath's execs are confident they can still derive some value from the company's assets. Researchers are poring over the isonep data to see if there's any way forward, Lpath said, and the company contends that "encouraging signals of activity" in asonep's failed study merit further investigation.

The biotech is also working on lpathomab, a Phase I-ready antibody designed to treat neuropathic pain, and atepan, a preclinical candidate with potential in inflammatory bowel disease, respiratory disease and inflammation.

- read the statement