Satsuma to lay off 36% of workers

March 29, 2023

San Francisco-based biotech Satsuma Pharmaceuticals announced this week that it will be letting go of approximately 36% of its workers effective March 31, 2023.

In its recent financial update, Satsuma revealed net losses of $23.1 million and $70.1 million, respectively, in the fourth quarter and full year of 2022. As of September 20, 2022, the company reported having 25 full-time employees, which brings the total number of employees affected by the layoffs to 9. 

The "necessary cost-saving initiatives" come as Satsuma looks for a "strategic transaction" related to its lead migraine treatment candidate, according to the company's CEO, John Kollins. 

Earlier this month, the company submitted its New Drug Application (NDA) to the FDA for its lead asset, STS101, for the treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults. The drug is a proprietary nasal powder formulation of the well-established anti-migraine drug, dihydroergotamine mesylate (DHE), administered via Satsuma’s proprietary nasal delivery device.

Although single-dose treatment of subjects’ migraine attacks with the drug showed numerical superiority versus placebo on the phase 3 SUMMIT trial co-primary outcome measures, the difference in secondary outcomes did not reach statistical significance. Despite this, Satsuma believes that the trial results “convincingly demonstrate that a single dose of STS101 provides differentiated, robust, and sustained anti-migraine effects.”

With a potential NDA acceptance slated for May 2023, the company does not intend to independently commercialize the drug and is currently looking for a deal.

“Although we have decided not to build commercial infrastructure and independently commercialize STS101, we believe STS101 could ultimately be an attractive addition to the portfolio of an established pharmaceutical company,” said Kollins.