Word came yesterday that AstraZeneca is spinning off its anti-infectives division into a separate subsidiary company. This does not appear to have been their first choice – they’ve been shopping these assets around for actual cash, but had no takers (at least, on their terms). Here’s what they’re telling the employees:
. . .We are creating a stand-alone subsidiary company, focused exclusively on the research and development of our early-stage antibiotic pipeline, including the novel gyrase inhibitor AZD0914, which is currently in Phase II for the treatment of gonorrhoea. AstraZeneca will invest $40 million in the new company. We anticipate that the new company will be led by and include staff from AstraZeneca’s Innovative Medicines Unit. . .
. . .As already communicated to our employees, this new way of conducting small molecule antibiotic research and early-stage development will impact approximately 95 employees based in Waltham, MA. It is anticipated that some of the researchers impacted by the changes will take up roles in the new company, or in other parts of AstraZeneca. We are fully committed to supporting our people through the transition.
FierceBiotech has more, agreeing that this seems to have been something of a last resort for the company. But it probably could have been worse, too – better a “subsidiary company” than no company at all, if you’re working there, I should think. We’ll see how this goes in the coming months. My guess is that the gyrase inhibitor’s fortunes will determine a lot of the story.