RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Inspire Pharmaceuticals will cut 65
jobs, including almost half its non-sales positions, and concentrate on eye
care drugs after the failure of an experimental cystic fibrosis treatment.
The drugmaker said it is cutting 27 percent of its total
work force, including 45 percent of its non-sales jobs. It said most of the
eliminations will come from research and development, manufacturing and
technical operations, and general and administrative functions.
In early January, the company said its drug candidate
denufosol failed in a late-stage clinical trial. Denusofol was designed to
treat cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that causes thick mucus buildup in
Inspire said Thursday it will give up its research into lung
diseases to focus on eye care. All of its approved products are eye drugs.
The company announced the shift in focus as it reported its
fourth-quarter results Thursday.
Inspire posted a net loss of $4.3 million, or 5 cents per
share, for the three months ended Dec. 31 after losing $2.6 million, or 3 cents
per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009. Revenue increased 2 percent to $30.3
million from $29.6 million. Research and development costs and other expenses
Analysts expected a loss of 12 cents per share and $28.6
million in revenue, according to estimates compiled by FactSet.
Revenue from Azasite, which is a treatment for pinkeye cause
by bacteria, grew 9 percent to $13.2 million. Revenue from sales of the dry-eye
treatment Restasis, which is sold by Allergan Inc., edged up to $13 million
from $12 million. Inspire said revenue from its drug Elestat, which treats
itchiness caused by allergy-related pinkeye, fell to $2.9 million from $5.5
The company also received $1.3 million from Santen Pharmaceuticals
Co. after its dry eye treatment Diquas was approved and launched in Japan.
In 2010, Inspire said it lost $35.4 million, or 43 cents per
share, versus a loss of $40 million, or 60 cents per share, in 2009. Its
revenue grew to $106.4 million from $92.2 million. Partner Allergan expects
Restasis sales of $680 million to $710 million in 2011.
The company said it will take a restructuring charge of $10
million to $13 million in the first quarter, but it expects the moves to save
it more than $40 million per year. Most of the savings will come from lower
research and development costs.
The restructuring charge includes the termination of
contracts related to denufosol along with severance costs and other items.