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Trimeris trims down to focus on Fuzeon
Trimeris, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRMS) today announced that it will shift its strategic emphasis and reorganize to focus tightly on FUZEON profitability and its strength in research and early stage development. These changes are designed to significantly increase and sustain earnings from FUZEON by sharply reducing expenses. Trimeris and Roche will continue their collaboration to develop FUZEON enhancements and Next Generation Fusion Inhibitors (NGFI).
Trimeris also said that chief executive Steven Skolsky had departed to pursue other opportunities, stepping aside in order to allow former CEO and chief scientific officer Dani Bolognesi to reprise the role.
The objective is to boost the firm's profitability by reducing expenses and directing more energies into the continued development of Fuzeon (enfuvirtide), which is the first and currently only HIV fusion inhibitor on the market and brought in sales of $63 million in the third quarter of 2006.
The reorganisation will see Trimeris taking a lesser role in the marketing and commercialisation of Fuzeon -something that had previously been shared with Roche - and expending more effort on R&D, both for Fuzeon and other follow-up fusion inhibitors. The number of job losses has yet to be decided, said the company.
At the head of Fuzeon developments is the development of a needle-free version of the injectable drug designed to be more patient-friendly, although this project has been delayed in the USA by a Food and Drug Administration request for more data to bolster the dossier.
Roche and Trimeris said last month that filing of the new version will now likely be delayed until at least the first half of 2007, when data from another clinical trial of the device become available.
In a statement, Trimeris said the restructuring is expected to provide $20 million or more in additional cash flow in 2007, leaving it with $65 million in cash at the end of that year, while earnings per share should reach $1.00.
Dani Bolognesi said, "We will reduce programs and our workforce as a result of these changes. We expect to have the new business structure and supporting plans in place by year-end and look forward to creating significant shareholder value with these actions. We will remain a vibrant, science-oriented company."
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