Drug firms cut back

    Several drug research companies across North America, including five US-based firms and a Canadian biotech, have announced lay-offs.

    Hospira of Lake Forest, Illinois, a pharmaceutical and medication delivery firm specializing in injectable drugs, will cut about 1,400 employees, or 10% of its global workforce. Cortex Pharmaceuticals of Irvine, California, which makes drugs to treat psychiatric and nervous-system disorders, cut 14 of 27 employees.

    Poniard Pharmaceuticals of South San Francisco, California, is cutting eight of its 67 employees, discontinuing in-house preclinical research and focusing on picoplatin, a next-generation platinum chemotherapy. Adventrx Pharmaceuticals of San Diego, California, is cutting its payroll to five and is discontinuing drug-development efforts and business operations to focus on “strategic options”. In December 2008 the company employed about 35 people, according to its website.

    Synta Pharmaceuticals of Lexington, Massachusetts, cut 90 positions from its 220-member workforce owing to unfavourable late-stage clinical-trial results on a metastatic melanoma treatment. Synta has five programmes in clinical or preclinical development and several others in the discovery stage. Canada's Bellus Health is cutting its staff by nearly half. It did not report exact numbers, but the company employed 170 in December 2007, according to its website.

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    Bellus Health

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    Drug firms cut back. Nature 458, 663 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nj7238-663c

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