Sage announces reorg, layoffs in preparation for postpartum drug launch

Aug. 31, 2023

Sage Therapeutics announced plans to reorganize its business operations and pipeline priorities as the company preps for the commercial launch of its newly-approved postpartum depression drug in late 2023.

The move will involve cutting approximately 40% of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company's workforce to support its "focus on agile execution of business priorities."

Sage also plans to pause some earlier-stage programs, refining its pipeline development efforts to focus on SAGE-718, a potential oral therapy for cognitive disorders associated with NMDA receptor dysfunction, and SAGE-324, an essential tremor and neurological disorders asset that was part of the same $1.5 billion November 2020 deal with Biogen that produced the recently approved Zurzuvae.

Zurzuvae, an oral neuroactive steroid (NAS) GABA-A receptor-positive allosteric modulator (PAM), was approved by regulators earlier this month. While the approval was a win for Biogen and Sage, the FDA responded to the larger indication — major depressive disorder — with a Complete Response Letter. The CRL indicated that the application lacked sufficient evidence of effectiveness to justify the approval of Zurzuvae for MDD treatment, and asked the companies to hold additional studies.

Sage's new reorg will also involve the departure of leadership, including CSO Al Robichaud and CDO Jim Doherty.