Biopharma layoff tracker 2023: Rejuvenate, GreenLight Biosciences, Oncorus and more cut staff
Published: Jun 14, 2023
By Rosemary Scott
2022 saw myriad ups and downs in terms of the economy, and as it ebbed and flowed, so too did the job market. This trend has continued throughout 2023.
The year kicked off with mass layoffs in the tech industry, leaving many wondering if the same was in store for the biopharma industry. Fortunately, though layoff announcements have been steady, the biotech sector has not seen nearly the same peaks.
BioSpace will continue to be your source of news for job cuts and restructuring initiatives through 2023. Follow along as we keep you up to date on which companies are tightening their belts and cutting staff.
Encoded Therapeutics is cutting approximately 10% of its headcount in an effort to extend cash flow into 2026, chief business officer David McNinch told Fierce Biotech. He declined to confirm how many staffers were affected, but he said the cuts were part of an effort to shift its focus to getting its lead asset, a treatment for Dravet syndrome, through the clinic.
Rejuvenate Bio Bio has cut a “sizable portion” of its staff and made cuts to its pipeline, Endpoints News reported. A Rejuvenate spokesperson confirmed to the news organization that it was in fact making cuts, but it did not specify how many staffers would be affected by the layoffs.
GreenLight Biosciences is laying off 96 members of staff, effective July 29, according to a WARN notice received by the state on May 31. News of the cuts comes shortly after the company announced it had agreed to be acquired by a group of buyers led by Fall Line Capital, LLC.
Oncorus is laying off 55 employees, or “substantially all” of its workforce, according to a post-market release. The cuts include CEO Ted Ashburn, COO Stephen Harbin and CMO John Goldberg. Interim CFO Alexander Nolte will remain in order to attempt to find a buyer for the biotech before it runs out of cash.
Roche plans to sell a drug manufacturing plant in Vacaville, CA, or shut the facility down by 2029, according to an internal email sent Wednesday obtained by Reuters. The plant currently employs 800 staff members, and though Roche would not confirm any details about the timeline or number of employees affected to Reuters, it did confirm plans to sell the site.
Catalent plans to lay off 150 employees from its Bloomington, IN plant by Friday, Indiana Public Media reported, according to an internal email sent to employees. A company spokesperson told the news outlet that the cuts will mainly affect leadership and support positions, and come as part of a restructuring due to difficulty sustaining the growth the company saw during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rain Oncology is laying off 65% of its staff, including its chief medical officer. This news came one week after the company’s lead candidate, milademetan, fell short in a Phase III liposarcoma trial. Rain is also pausing a Phase II trial and dropping another Phase I/II trial completely, both studying milademetan.
Takeda plans to lay off 27 employees in San Diego two weeks after giving notice of plans to lay off more than 180 employees in Massachusetts. A Takeda spokesperson told BioSpace that the cuts in California are directly related to the company’s decision to discontinue discovery and pre-clinical efforts in AAV gene therapy and in rare hematology.
PTC Therapeutics, Inc. has implemented a pipeline prioritization initiative, that includes dropping several preclinical and early-phase R&D projects in gene therapy and an 8% reduction in its workforce.
Affimed cut about 25% of its total headcount in April, according to the company’s Q1 earnings report. These cuts came as part of a restructuring effort in which the company hopes to prioritize the three clinical programs in its pipeline.
Urovant Sciences is laying off 22 employees, effective June 29, according to a California WARN notice filed in April and published in May. This news comes just a few weeks after the company revealed that it is being folded into its parent company, Sumitomo, along with six other sister companies.
GeneDx, a clinical genomics and genetic testing company, is laying off 19 employees beginning May 28, according to a Connecticut WARN notice. This comes after the company cut 700 jobs last year. The most recent cuts include only remote employees, CT Insider reported.
Adaptive Phage Therapeutics, Inc. cut 22 jobs, or 23% of its total headcount, to shift its focus to its clinical trials and extend its cash runway, the Washington Business Journal reported. The layoffs went into effect on May 9.
Roche has cut 165 jobs in Branchburg, New Jersey—the home of its largest diagnostic operations center in the U.S. The layoffs will go into effect on July 25, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN) notice filed in April.
Novavax is cutting its global workforce by about 25%, according to its first-quarter earnings report. The layoffs include about 500 of the nearly 2,000 employees that Novavax cited in its 2022 annual report.
Gossamer Bio announced plans to lay off 25% of its workforce as part of an effort to shift its focus to its pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) candidate, which is set to enter Phase III in the third quarter of this year. The biotech stated it plans to cut all clinical and preclinical programs other than the PAH candidate.
ADC Therapeutics plans to cut about 17% of its staff—about 54 employees in total—along with two preclinical programs. This news follows disappointing sales for Zynlonta, an ADC approved to treat diffuse large B cell lymphoma.
Takeda plans to lay off about 186 employees in Massachusetts, according to a WARN report. The cuts will affect employees in four locations across three cities in Massachusetts: Cambridge, Lexington and North Reading.
Bristol Myers Squibb plans to lay off 48 staff members from its Princeton, New Jersey, facility, according to a WARN notice filed in April. Though no other information was provided in the WARN report about which divisions will be affected, the facility houses employees from the commercial, R&D and enabling function support teams, according to the company’s website.
EQRx announced plans to cut 170 jobs and several drug candidates as part of a restructuring effort. The startup was formed to develop an affordable alternative to name-brand prescription drugs, but tight FDA regulations forced the company to pivot.
Mammoth Biosciences cut 35 jobs in March, Mammoth CEO Trevor Martin confirmed to Endpoints News. The biotech is looking to ditch its efforts in CRISPR diagnostics and shift its focus to therapeutic research.
Selecta Biosciences announced plans to cut about 25% of its workforce as part of an effort to implement a “capital prioritization initiative,” according to its Q1 financial report. The cuts are expected to extend the company’s cash flow to the second half of 2025.
Zymergen plans to lay off 27 members of staff in Alameda County, CA, effective June 20, according to a California WARN report. The company was acquired by Ginkgo Bioworks in July 2022, and this most recent filing marks the third round of layoffs it has implemented since.
Transplant Genomics has cut nine remote workers from its staff, according to a Massachusetts WARN report. The report was filed on April 27, and the layoffs went into effect the very next day.
Sumitomo plans to lay off a combined 122 members of staff from both Sumitomo Pharma America Holdings and Sumitomo Pharma Oncology in Massachusetts. It will also cut 101 jobs from subsidiary Sunovion Pharmaceuticals. This news comes one month after the pharma announced plans to consolidate its many subsidiaries into one company, Sumitomo Pharma America.
Cepheid, a company known for making rapid coronavirus tests, plans to cut 625 members of staff in the California Bay Area, according to a WARN report. This is the company’s second round of layoffs in the last six months. In November, the company announced plans to cut 925 jobs, also in the Bay Area.
Care Access, a contract research startup, has cut about half of its headcount, according to a LinkedIn post by CEO and co-founder Ahmad Namvargolian. This news comes just two months after Pfizer cut the startup from its study of a Lyme disease vaccine.
Thermo Fisher Scientific plans to lay off 218 workers related to the closing of three facilities in San Diego, according to a WARN report. This is the third round of layoffs the company has implemented in San Diego so far this year, and this most recent round brings the total number of cuts in the area to just over 500. In March, Thermo Fisher also announced plans to close a New Jersey manufacturing site and lay off 113 employees.
Sangamo Therapeutics announced plans to layoff about 120 staff members (approximately 27% of total workforce) as part of a restructuring effort. This news comes only one month after both Novartis and Biogen ended their partnerships with the biotech.
Evelo Biosciences announced it is cutting its workforce and dropping an atopic dermatitis program in an effort to extend its cash flow. This is the company’s second round of layoffs in three months. The company did not specify how many jobs would be cut.
Foundation Medicine, Inc., a Roche subsidiary, plans to cut about 135 members of staff, according to an April 4 blog post written by CEO Brian Alexander on the company’s website. Alexander said the layoffs are part of a decision to adopt a “leaner, more streamlined organizational structure.”
Enzyvant Therapeutics plans to lay off 20 employees in North Carolina, including some executive positions, the Triangle Business Journal reported. The WARN notice, filed April 20, stated the cuts are a “result of the integration of Enzyvant and a number of its affiliates into one new company.”
Emerald Cloud Lab plans to lay off 30 employees from its headquarters in South San Francisco, effective April 30, according to a WARN report. These cuts could be part of the company’s plans to relocate to a new facility in Austin, TX, which is expected to open in July.
Nektar Therapeutics plans to implement a restructuring initiative that includes cutting its workforce in San Francisco by about 60%. The company said it will shift its focus to its immunology portfolio, and the cuts will help extend its cash flow to mid-2026.
Talaris Therapeutics plans to lay off about 80 employees, including much of its C-suite. In total, the cuts include about 95% of the company’s headcount. This follows Talaris’ February decision to cut about one-third of its staff and axe two clinical trials.
Aeglea Biotherapeutics announced plans to lay off all but about 10 members of its staff as part of a restructuring initiative. This announcement followed mixed interim data from an ongoing Phase I/II study of its classical homocystinuria candidate pegtarviliase.
Oncocyte Corporation announced plans to cut its workforce by about 20% in an effort to extend its cash flow into 2024. The company did not give a reason for the layoffs in the press release, stating only that the cuts were part of an effort to reduce costs and optimize efficiency.
GentiBio, Inc has laid off an undisclosed number of employees, CEO Adel Nada told the Boston Business Journal. The CEO called the cuts “relatively small,” and cited “a challenging biotech macroenvironment” as the reason for the cuts.
Biogen is laying off an unspecified number of employees, according to a report published Monday by the Boston Business Journal. A Biogen spokesperson confirmed the layoffs in an email to BioSpace but declined to reveal the exact number of affected employees.
Pear Therapeutics has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is seeking to sell off its assets, according to an SEC filing. 170 employees (about 92% of total staff) will be laid off as a result, leaving 15 employees who will continue working until the company’s assets are sold.
Thermo Fisher Scientific plans to shutter a New Jersey manufacturing facility and cut 113 members of staff as a result, according to a WARN report filed in March. This is the third round of layoffs the company has announced this year. Since February, it has cut over 350 staff members, all from manufacturing facilities in San Diego.
LumiraDx, a diagnostics testing solutions company, announced plans to initiate a restructuring program that includes cutting its headcount by about 40%. The company expects to save about $36 million a year as a result.
NGM Biopharmaceuticals is implementing a restructuring initiative that includes cutting 75 employees, which make up about 33% of the company’s total workforce, according to an SEC filing. CEO David Woodhouse stated the cuts are related to the Phase II CATALINA trial failure in October 2022.
Molecular Templates is cutting about half of its staff, leaving it with just over 100 employees, according to an SEC filing. The layoffs are the result of an effort to narrow its pipeline to only three programs and a preclinical partnership with BMS.
Applied Molecular Transport, Inc. (AMT) is slashing its workforce by approximately 57%, according to a March 28 announcement. Tahir Mahmood, Ph.D. will step down as CEO and be replaced by President and COO Shawn Cross.
Satsuma Pharmaceuticals announced plans to lay off 36% of its staff, starting March 31. effective this Friday. This comes after the company announced results from a Phase III trial studying its migraine treatment, STS101, and submitted an NDA to the FDA earlier this month.
9 Meters Biopharma announced it is cutting about half of its workforce in an effort to extend its cash runway. The announcement came as part of its fourth-quarter financial report.
Merck KGaA‘s EMD Serono plans to cut six members of staff research center in Billerica, MA, beginning May 22, according to a Massachusetts WARN report. In January, the company announced plans to cut 133 employees from the same location as part of a plan to prioritize R&D and rely more heavily on its partnerships for drug development.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals is closing its research facility in San Diego, CA and laying off 89 employees as a result. According to a WARN notice filed with the state of California, the layoffs will be effective May 26.
Vaxart, Inc. plans to reorganize its pipeline to prioritize its oral norovirus vaccine program and push back clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine. The reorganization includes cutting about 27% of staff in an effort to extend cash flow into 2024.
Olema Oncology announced it is shifting its focus to advancing OP-1250, a treatment for ER+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer, into Phase III. The restructuring will include cutting about 25% of its workforce.
Neoleukin Therapeutics announced it is reviewing strategic alternatives that could include a sale, merger, divestiture of assets, licensing or other strategic transaction. As a result, the company is cutting 70% of its workforce in the first half of 2023.
Thermo Fisher Scientific is laying off 154 people in San Diego, according to a WARN report. This news comes just one month after it announced plans to lay off 230 employees at three manufacturing sites in San Diego. The company cited reduced demand for COVID-19 testing kits as the reason for both rounds of cuts.
atai Life Sciences announced it has cut staff by about 30% as part of a in order to extend its cash runway into the first half of 2026. The company stated the decision came after a strategic review of its pipeline in an effort to enhance efficiency and narrow its focus.
Coherus BioSciences announced in its fourth-quarter report that it has cut about 60 full-time and part-time employees from its payroll as part of a restructuring initiative. The company’s operating expenses for this year are nearly $100 million lower than those projected in April 2022.
MorphoSys AG plans to drop its pre-clinical programs and cut 17% of its workforce to extend its cash runway. The cuts will take place at the company’s Planegg headquarters, and a total of 70 employees will lose their jobs.
G1 Therapeutics released its full-year 2022 financial report that stated it has cut its headcount by about 30% to reduce operating expenses in 2023. This comes two weeks after the biotech ended a late-stage study of its lead candidate in colorectal cancer, causing shares to plunge 50%.
Theravance Biopharma is discontinuing research activities for its JAK inhibitor program in lung inflammation and reducing its headcount by about 17%. The strategic realignment folows a letter from one of Theravance’s largest shareholders, Irenic Capital, urging the company to review its governance structure and reassess its business strategies.
ObsEva, a women’s health biotech based in Switzerland, is cutting several staff members from its executive team in the U.S. and its board of directors. These cuts include the company’s CEO, CMO and several others.
Graphite Bio announced it is discontinuing the development of nulabeglogene autogedtemcel (nula-cel), its lead asset. Simultaneously, the Bay Area biotech is launching a corporate restructuring program that will shave off about 50% of its workforce.
Impel Pharmaceuticals is implementing a restructuring initiative that includes cutting staff by 16%. It plans to drop its INP105 treatment for acute agitation and aggression in autism spectrum disorder and focus on developing its Trudhesa nasal spray.
Jounce Therapeutics announced plans to merge its business in an all-stock deal with clinical-stage biotech Redx Pharma. This news came one day after the biotech announced a restructuring plan that included cutting 57% of staff.
National Resilience Inc. announced plans to sell a manufacturing site in Marlborough, MA and scale back operations at another in Allston, MA. The decision will result in about 213 job cuts in total.
Aileron Therapeutics announced it plans to drop its its lead candidate, ALRN-6924, after it did not meet the primary or secondary endpoints in a Phase 1b trial studying the candidate in breast cancer patients. As a result, the company will cut its staff from nine employees to three.
Frequency Therapeutics is cutting 55% of its workforce due to its decision to drop all programs designed to treat Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL). This comes after its candidate, FX-322, did not meet the primary endpoint in SNHL patients in a Phase IIb trial.
Eliem Therapeutics is dropping a depression drug candidate that was heading into Phase II and laying off 55% of staff in an attempt to stretch its cash runway into 2027.
Aligos Therapeutics announced it has implemented a pipeline reprioritization resulting in a staff reduction of about 25%. The biotech will now prioritize its NASH and COVID-19 assets, including its NASH collaboration with Merck.
Magenta Therapeutics is cutting up to 56 positions from its workforce – about 84% of its total staff – according to a filing with the SEC. This comes days after the biotech suspended the development of its clinical programs after a patient’s death halted a Phase I/II trial.
Vyant Bio announced plans to cut its workforce in an attempt to extend its cash runway, though the announcement did not specify how many jobs would be cut. The decision is due to leadership’s belief that “its stock price does not reflect the fundamental value of the business.”
Medicago, a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine developer, announced it will shut its doors due to a slowdown in the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows the company’s November announcement that it planned to lay off 62 employees at a North Carolina manufacturing facility.
Evelo Biosciences announced it has implemented cost-saving initiatives that include an unspecified amount of job cuts. In the same announcement, the company also stated its atopic dermatitis candidate, EDP1815, did not meet its primary endpoint in a Phase II trial.
Instil Bio plans to cut its staff to just 15 employees in an attempt to extend its cash runway through 2026. This additional reduction follows the company’s December announcement that it planned to cut staff by 60%.
Quince Therapeutics plans to reprioritize its pipeline and lay off 47% of its staff, according to an SEC filing. The new strategy follows the company’s decision to sell its protease inhibitor portfolios.
Amgen is implementing organizational changes that include laying off approximately 300 team members to “better manage against industry headwinds,” a company spokesperson confirmed to BioSpace. The job cuts will mainly affect Amgen’s commercial team and will involve employees based in the U.S., the spokesperson said.
Finch Therapeutics announced it plans to discontinue the Phase III trial of its main asset, a bacterial infection drug dubbed CP101. As a result, it will cut about 95% of its workforce. Finch cited a lack of funding and partnerships to develop the drug as the reason behind the decision.
Merck KGaA‘s EMD Serono plans to cut 133 members of staff at its research center in Billerica, MA. This comes a few months after the biotech announced it planned to prioritize R&D and rely more heavily on its partnerships for drug development.
Cyteir Therapeutics announced a restructuring initiative focused on prioritizing CYT-0851, an investigational monocarboxylate transporter inhibitor being studied in ovarian cancer. The shift will result in a 70% reduction in staff.
Calithera Biosciences‘ board of directors has decided to dissolve the company and liquidate its assets, and most employees will be let go by the end of Q1. In 2021, Calithera bought two Phase II cancer assets from Takeda in an attempt to bounce back, but it announced in November that data from the assets had been delayed.
Editas Medicine announced it has cut 20% of staff, including Chief Scientific Officer Mark Shearman, Ph.D, in a pipeline reorganization. This follows the company’s November announcement that it planned to press pause on its lead asset, EDIT-101, due to disappointing data.
Y-mAbs Therapeutics stated it will implement a restructuring plan that includes reducing its workforce by 35% by the end of May. The biotech stated it plans to prioritize Danyelza, its treatment for relapsed/refractory, high-risk neuroblastoma.
Athenex Pharma Solutions filed a WARN notice with the state of New York stating it plans to close a production facility in Clarence, NY, laying off 92 employees as a result. The company stated the decision was due to financial difficulty, though it did not specify the cause.
Instil Bio announced it is discontinuing the development of its unmodified tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapeutic, ITIL-168, and laying off 60% of its staff.