Oct 19, 2012

Negative results of clinical trials force several layoffs from Targacept

The biotechnology company announced that its last clinical trial has failed. The experiment was trying to check the effect of a drug compound aimed at attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Now, company executives have warned of a resulting reduction to its workforce.

In this blog, we have written so much about negative results and its capacity to generate a high level of knowledge. However, failed trials can cause negative consequences on the workforce. In the few last days, multinational company Targacept Inc has announced negative results for the second time this year from a key research trial.

The Winston-Salem biotechnology company was testing a drug compound (TC-5619) aimed at attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Results of a four week Phase 2 clinical trial of TC-5619 did not fulfill expectations. The compound was measured against the Conners adult ADHD. The company says patients taking a placebo dose consistently improved more than patients that took TC-5619.

This fail is expected to result in several layoffs and business restructuring. According to Wiston-Salem Journal, Mark Skaletsky, Targacept's chairman, did not say how many jobs were affected. "We can only make this difficult decision based on our commitment to maximizing the future potential of the company's assets," he said.

Skaletsky said the company will not further pursue ADHD development with TC-5619. At the moment the aim of the company is to maximize human resources and emphasize the efficient use of Targacept's capital to keep up with its current operational plan. "We will limit our investment in our nicotinic pipeline to our ongoing or previously announced clinical programs until the search for a new CEO is successfully completed”, Skaletsky said.

This year has not been good for Targacept. In March, it announced the final two clinical failures of TC-5214, its most promising compound. A month later, the company reduced its workforce by 46 percent, or 65 employees. In June, Don deBethizy resigned as top executive of company. Since then, Targacept has been looking for a new CEO who believes in the platform.

After these difficulties, last September Targacept said it was taking its most well-known compound, TC-5214, in a new research direction in hope of bolstering research and eventually revenue. It is developing TC-5214 as a treatment for overactive bladder, with plans to begin a Phase 2b study in the first half of 2013. The initiative is different for Targacept since most of its research focus has been on diseases of the mind.

Written by Alejandro Balbuena for The All Results Journals. 

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