RARE Daily

Biogen to Slash Reata Workforce by a Third

October 12, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

Biogen filed notice with state authorities in Texas that it will lay off nearly a third of Reata’s staff, following the completion of its $7.3 billion acquisition of the company in September.

The company filed a notice with the Texas Workforce Commission on October 9 with a layoff date of November 27 involving a total of 113 employees.

In July, Biogen announced it would acquire Reata for $172.50 per share in cash, giving it a value of approximately $7.3 billion.

Reata’s FDA-approved Skyclaris is the first and only approved treatment for Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) in the United States. In addition, Reata is developing a portfolio of innovative products for a range of neurological diseases, including cemdomespib for the treatment of patients with diabetic neuropathic pain.

Friedreich’s ataxia is an ultra-rare, genetic, life-shortening, debilitating, and degenerative neuromuscular disorder typically caused by a trinucleotide repeat expansion in the first intron of the frataxin gene, which encodes the mitochondrial protein frataxin. Pathogenic repeat expansions can lead to impaired transcription and reduced frataxin expression, which can result in mitochondrial iron overload and poor cellular iron regulation, increased sensitivity to oxidative stress, and impaired mitochondrial ATP production. Patients with Friedreich’s ataxia typically experience symptoms in childhood, including progressive loss of coordination, muscle weakness, and fatigue that commonly results in motor incapacitation with patients requiring a wheelchair in their 20s. It is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 patients diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia in the United States.

Skyclaris is an oral, once-daily medication indicated for the treatment of Friedreich’s ataxia in adults and adolescents aged 16 years and older in the U.S. Additionally, the company’s Marketing Authorization Application for omaveloxolone is under review in Europe by the European Medicines Agency. The European Commission has granted Orphan Drug designation in Europe to Skyclaris for the treatment of Friedreich’s ataxia.

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