This was expected, yes? Two months after reporting that a pair of clinical trials testing an Alzheimer's compound failed to meet primary endpoints, Johnson & Johnson is eliminating about 130 positions, mostly from itsJanssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy office in South San Francisco, California, according to a state notice.
In an e-mail, a spokeswoman confirms that the "restructuring" and job cuts are due to the "negative clinical trial results announced in August of the bapineuzumab Phase III studies and the decision to discontinue development of bapineuzumab in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease." The state notice lists 119 jobs to be eliminated from that office. At the moment, the unit employs about 200 people and also has a facility in Dublin, Ireland.
The job cuts are hardly unexpected in light of the decision to halt clinical work, except for follow-up evaluations and final data analyses. In fact, preliminary results reported in 2008 suggested little room for optimism (see this), although many patients and investors held out hope that the compound would offer a pleasant surprise, despite the odds.
But the topline results from a study in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease who do not carry the ApoE4 genotype failed to meet the co-primary clinical endpoints – a change in cognitive and functional performance compared to placebo. An earlier study, which also failed, involved patients who do carry the ApoE4 genotype (read here and here).
Bapineuzumab was originally developed by Elan and Wyeth, but J&J (JNJ) got involved as part of a deal to acquire several compounds from Elan three years ago, about the same time that Pfizer purchased Wyeth. The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program is a collaboration between J&J's Janssen unit and Pfizer (PFE).
axe pic thx to brittgow on flickr