Halozyme to slash 55% of staff after lead drug fails

Halozyme, a San Diego-based drugmaker, will cut its workforce by 55 percent after its lead drug failed in a clinical trial, according to STAT.

The drug, PEGPH20, was designed to treat pancreatic cancer, but failed to extend the lives of patients. As a result, the drugmaker will halt all studies of the drug and instead prioritize its drug delivery technology, Enhanze, which is used by several large drugmakers.

To become profitable, the company will cut 160 jobs. It expects to be profitable by the middle of next year, Halozyme CEO Helen Torley told STAT. Halozyme's board also authorized the company to repurchase $350 million worth of Halozyme stock over the next three years in an effort to raise the share price.

The company also told STAT it believes revenue from Enhanze will reach $1 billion by 2027. Enhanze turns medicines that have to be given intravenously over hours into shots that patients can receive in minutes. Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb are using the technology for their cancer drugs, as are several other large drugmakers.

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