UniQure has announced a major restructuring program that will see several gene therapy candidates sidelined.
2012 was a landmark year for uniQure (NASDAQ:QURE) and genetics investing in general: the company became the first ever to have a gene therapy approved in the EU. But fast forward four years and uniQure is struggling. Today, they announced a major restructuring program that will see several promising gene therapy candidates sidelined.
On November 2, 2012, uniQure received approval for Glybera, a gene therapy for liprotein lipase deficiency. It was predicted to be the most expensive medicine in the world, with a single treatment retailing for as much as one million dollars.
UniQure went public the same year Glybera hit the market, in 2014. Investors were excited, as evidenced by the fact that uniQure priced its shares at $17, above the expected range. But in the years since, a lack of commercial success for Glybera has caused shares to sink. They now trade for just over seven dollars.
UniQure has a plan to get back on track, announced today. The company will cut between 50 and 60 jobs, or 20 to 25 percent of their workforce. They are also scrapping several gene therapy programs in order to focus resources on those intended to treat hemophilia B, Huntington’s and heart disease.
The company is seeking partners for other gene therapies currently in development.
“The strategic restructuring brings enhanced focus to our pipeline, streamlines operations and improves our financial strength,” said interim CEO Matthew Kapusta. He is optimistic about the potential of uniQure’s product candidates going forward, particularly AMT-060, intended to treat hemophilia B. This has delivered some promising trial data.
But investors seem less certain and the stock is already down over six percent today. Will that downward swing continue? Or will investors snap up shares, confident that uniQure can make a major comeback?
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Securities Disclosure: I, Chelsea Pratt, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.