Flex Pharma to cut two trials, reduce headcount and explore merger options

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Tashatuvango)
(Image: Getty/Tashatuvango)
Oral tolerability concerns have prompted the US biotech to close Ph II clinical trial investigations of FLX-787 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT).

“Recent observations of oral intolerability at the current dose and formulation, in a subset of patients, in both studies, indicate that more formulation and dose-ranging studies are required, which is challenging for the Company based upon our current resources,” ​said CEO Bill McVicar in a statement​.

The firm will continue its investigation of FLX-787 in patients with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).

In a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing​, Flex Pharma also outlined its intention to reduce headcount and explore the possibility of a sale or merger: “…The company plans to reduce its workforce by approximately 60%, with the majority of the reduction in personnel expected to be completed by June 30, 2018.” ​ 

The firm anticipates the restructure to cost between $800k (€676k) and $1.1m.

In addition, the filing states that Flex Pharma’s “board and management team have initiated a process to explore a range of strategic alternatives for enhancing stockholder value, including the potential sale or merger of the company.”

Flex Pharma did not respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year​, Takeda Pharmaceuticals​ also announced its intention to target amyotrophic lateral sclerosis through a nucleic acid-focused collaboration with Wave Life Sciences.

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