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Biocryst Pharma (BCRX) To Cut Workforce By 50 Pct; Shares Off

 December 07, 2012 08:15 AM

(By Balaseshan) BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: BCRX) said it will cut its workforce by 50% or 38 positions as the company is restructuring and implementing a focused strategy to advance its hereditary angioedema (HAE) and antiviral programs, sending its shares down 14.97% in premarket.

The restructuring is intended to significantly reduce BioCryst's cost structure and scale the organization appropriately for its current portfolio.

The company intends to direct its cash and other resources primarily to enable the achievement of important near-term milestones for the BCX4161 HAE, BCX4430 broad spectrum antiviral and BCX5191 hepatitis C (HCV) programs.

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Excluding restructuring and deal charges, cash savings of $15 million to $18 million are expected in 2013, as compared to about $40 million cash use expected in 2012. The company expects to record a restructuring charge of $2 million to $4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

For 2013, preliminary cash utilization guidance is in the range of $22 million to $25 million, excluding restructuring and deal related costs. Detailed financial guidance for 2013 will be provided with the fiscal 2012 results announcement in February 2013.

BioCryst is conducting a study to characterize the efficacy of low doses of BCX5191 in chronically HCV infected chimpanzees, with the goal of demonstrating meaningful antiviral activity at low doses. Results from the study are expected in early 2013.

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By the end of January 2013, BioCryst plans to complete analysis of the peramivir Phase 3 trial results and to review the conclusions with HHS/BARDA. After reviewing the totality of peramivir clinical safety and efficacy data, a decision will be made regarding peramivir's future.

The BCX4161 Phase 1 program is expected to start around the end of the first quarter 2013. The goal of this program is to demonstrate safety, adequate drug exposure via oral administration and pharmacodynamic effect on kallikrein inhibition.

A manuscript describing the activity of BCX4430 against certain filoviruses has recently been submitted to a journal for consideration. In addition, BioCryst has submitted a proposal to seek additional government funding for the development of BCX4430 under the animal rule.

The company's strategy for the ulodesine gout program remains unchanged. BioCryst intends to secure a partner to take over the ulodesine Phase 3 development and to commercialize the product.

BCRX closed Thursday's regular session up 7.30% at $1.47. The stock has been trading between $1.08 and $5.95 for the past 52 weeks.

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