Amylyx Slashes Workforce by 70% After Controversial ALS Drug Fails Confirmatory Trial

Image Credit - Amylyx

Amylyx, the biopharma company under fire for its high-priced and ultimately ineffective ALS drug Relyvrio, is laying off a staggering 70% of its staff following the drug’s withdrawal from the market. Relyvrio, which boasted a hefty price tag of $163,000 per patient annually, generated nearly $381 million for the company in 2023. However, the drug’s failure in a crucial confirmatory trial has forced Amylyx to make drastic cuts.

Based on LinkedIn data suggesting a current headcount of 392, these cuts could impact around 274 employees. Which hasn’t been confirmed by the company.

Relyvrio’s journey was a rollercoaster from the start. Despite an FDA advisory panel’s initial rejection due to weak evidence, the drug was ultimately approved in September 2022 after intense lobbying from ALS patients desperate for treatment options. This approval hinged on a smaller trial and additional data Amylyx presented, but the company crucially pledged to withdraw Relyvrio if a larger confirmatory trial proved negative.

That larger trial, involving over 600 participants, did indeed disappoint. In March, Amylyx revealed Relyvrio failed to outperform a placebo in improving patients’ daily living activities. Faced with these findings, Amylyx was forced to follow through on its pledge and pull the drug, a move that triggered the significant layoffs.

The layoffs will leave hundreds jobless, with the exact number affected reaching roughly 70% of Amylyx’s total workforce. While the company maintains its focus on ALS research with another potential treatment and a drug for a rare genetic disorder, the future for Amylyx seems uncertain following Relyvrio’s failure.

This episode exposes the harsh realities of the pharmaceutical industry, where the failure of a high-priced drug can have devastating consequences for employees. It also highlights the plight of patients with limited treatment options, who are often caught in the middle of such struggles.

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