Exelixis has skyrocked over 300% from its August lows to its current price of about $12 on positive news for its lead compound, cabozantinib in prostate cancer, giving it a market cap of about $1.3 billioin. It is now positioned to file an NDA for its initial indication of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) in the latter half of this year and initiate the first pivotal trial in prostate during the same period.
From a height of close to 800 employees just a couple years ago, Exelixis is now down to a mere 240 after a large restructuring in 2010. This number will drift down to 150 soon. A company that once boasted of its enormous pipeline is now focusing all its efforts on a single compound. It has either stopped research on its early stage candidates or shifted work to partners.
The days of generating multiple INDs per year are probably over. That business model is no longer sustainable with its heavy costs, lack of return. CEO Mike Morrissey even mentioned equipment is now being auctioned off.
Still, why is the company still shrinking? At this point, when drug makers get close to launch, they typically begin building a commercialization team. Is Dr. Morrissey prepping the company for a sale?