BioMarin confirms layoffs and R&D cuts

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BioMarin Pharmaceutical, maker of targeted therapies for genetic conditions, will lay off 170 workers through the end of July, in connection with its discontinuation of certain research and development (R&D) programs.

In its first-quarter update (ending March 31), San Rafael, CA-based BioMarin reported that increases in total revenues and net income were offset by higher research and development costs, selling general and administrative expenses, and the provision for income taxes, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with which the layoff was filed May 14. The layoffs will cost the company between $15 million and $20 million during the second quarter.

First-quarter 2024 performance of the company's products showed higher sales volume for Voxzogo for children with achondroplasia and open growth plates. The company said strong demand for Voxzogo has outpaced projections, leaving the drug in a temporary supply-constrained position, according to the filing.

In addition, BioMarin reported higher sales volume of Palynziq, primarily in the U.S., that was partially offset by lower sales volume of Naglazyme that was due to the timing of orders in countries that place large government orders, particularly in the Middle East. The company also noted lower revenues for its drug Kuvan as a result of increasing generic competition and loss of market exclusivity.

Roctavian, BioMarin's gene therapy for severe hemophilia A, generated $800,000 in net product revenue in the first quarter of 2024. For the remainder of 2024, BioMarin's global commercial team will continue to focus on key elements critical to supporting Roctavian uptake in the U.S., Italy, and Germany, the company said.

In an April 24 news release, BioMarin said the R&D gene therapy programs being discontinued are BMN 331, BMN 255, BMN 355, and BMN 365; the firm noted that none of the programs were discontinued due to safety signals.

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