Life Sciences Insight

After laying off around 50 staff in June, Oyster Point remains on track with new strategy

Oyster Point Pharma has confirmed that around 50 employees were laid off in June as part of cost-cutting measures that could potentially claw back over $50 million by the end of 2023.

The “expense streamlining plan”—which the eye-focused company first set out at the end of June—was designed to maximize the commercial potential of the approved dry eye disease therapy Tyrvaya, Oyster said in its second-quarter earnings announcement post-market Thursday.

As a result of the plan, the company estimates that it can save between $6 million and $8 million in operating expenses over the remainder of the year, with up to a further $48 million saved in 2023.

“The reduction in operating expenses is expected to be primarily driven by lower non-employee-related general and administrative and research and development expenses, and to a lesser extent, by the reduction of up to approximately 50 positions across the organization,” the company reiterated in its earnings report.

Oyster’s strategy also includes a refocus of R&D efforts on both a gene therapy program and OC-01, a varenicline solution nasal spray to target the degenerative eye condition neurotrophic keratopathy as well as dry eye disease. The first patients have been dosed in a Chinese phase 3 trial of the drug in dry eye disease led by Oyster’s licensing partner Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals. Enrollment continues in a phase 2 trial in neurotrophic keratopathy in the U.S., with a readout expected in the fourth quarter.

The company was sitting on $104.9 million in cash and equivalents as of the end of June. That was $38 million less than held by Oyster three months previously, which the biotech attributed to the cost of marketing Tyrvaya. The nasal spray was approved by the FDA in October 2021.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Monday, August 15, at 8.30am ET with information from Oyster Point to clarify that the layoffs occurred during the second quarter.

To read more about layoffs across the biotech industry, check out Fierce Biotech’s Layoff Tracker.

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