Theravance cuts JAK inhibitor program, staff

Feb. 28, 2023

Theravance Biopharma unveiled new strategic actions, including discontinuing JAK research and layoffs, designed to "sharpen the company's focus." 

In a financial update, the Dublin-domiciled biopharma said it plans to prioritize resources toward its norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, ampreloxetine, currently being studied in neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. To do so, the company will discontinue research activities including its inhaled Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor program. As a result of halting further research investment, Theravance will reduce staff by approximately 17% by end of March.

The company will also refresh its board. Susannah Gray, who recently served as the executive VP and CFO of Royalty Pharma, will join the Board of Directors, following the departure of lead independent director William D. Young.

Additionally, Theravance plans to increases capital return program from $250 million to $325 million.

The actions come shortly after a top shareholder, Irenic Capital Management, released a letter calling out Theravance's "need for governance and strategic change following years of losses and underperformance."