GlaxoSmithKline, Poniard, Protalix Provide Biotech's Latest Mishaps

Includes: GSK, PARD, PLX
by: The Burrill Report
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) will cut up to 4,000 jobs as the drug giant seeks to cut costs in the face of the loss of revenue from generic competition, The Sunday Times reported. The latest job cuts come as the company puts greater focus on fast-growing emerging markets, the newspaper said. GlaxoSmithKline, which has just under 100,000 employees, declined to comment on the report.
Poniard Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PARD) said it is eliminating nearly 60 percent of its workforce as it seeks to slash operating costs and focus its resources on the ongoing development of picoplatin in solid tumors. The reduction in force will reduce the number of employees to a total of 21. The cuts come a little more than two weeks after the company reported disappointing mid-stage clinical data on its drug picoplatin for metastatic colon cancer. Poniard expects the reduction in force to result in approximately $4 million in reduced annualized operating expenses in 2010. The Company also expects to incur a charge in the first quarter of 2010 of approximately $1 million related to the workforce reduction. Poniard also said it appointed Ronald Martell to the position of chief executive officer. He succeeds Jerry McMahon, who will remain as non-executive chairman of the board of directors. In addition, Michael Perry has been named president and chief medical officer.
Protalix BioTherapeutics (NYSEMKT:PLX) said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants additional data on its treatment for Gaucher disease before it would consider its application to begin marketing the drug. The agency wants information primarily pertaining to the validation of the manufacturing process in the company's upgraded manufacturing facility for the drug known as taliglucerase alfa. The agency did not request additional clinical or preclinical information. Protalix says it is working to provide the requested data to the FDA and anticipates submitting the requested data during the second quarter of 2010.

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