With cancer drug suspending, Ariad cuts spending

Ariad says it aims to cut costs by 35 percent in 2014 after cancer pill Iclusig is suspended

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday that it plans to cut its spending by 35 percent in 2014 as it works to get its cancer drug Iclusig back on the market.

The company suspended sales of Iclusig on Oct. 31 because of growing concerns that patients could suffer life-threatening blood clots. Since then the company has said it will eliminate about 200 jobs and will slash costs.

Ariad said Tuesday that it expects to spend $240 million to $245 million on operations in 2013. A 35 percent cut would reduce its spending to a range of $156 million to $159 million, including about $5 million in restructuring costs.

The Cambridge, Mass., company said it believes it has enough cash, cash equivalents and securities to fund its operations into mid-2015.

Iclusig was approved in December as a treatment for two rare types of leukemia. It is a pill taken once per day, and it is Ariad's only approved product.

In October, Ariad disclosed a higher rate of side effects from Iclusig related to blood clots. At the end of the month the company suspended all sales, and the Food and Drug Administration said large numbers of patients treated with the drug had later experienced suffered serious side effects, including heart attacks and strokes. Some patients died as a result.

The company said Tuesday as it disclosed its financial results that net sales of Iclusig totaled $16.7 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, giving it $37.2 million in total revenue from the drug.

For the quarter, Ariad lost $66.3 million, or 36 cents per share, after losing $53.2 million, or 32 cents per share, a year ago.

FactSet says analysts expected a loss of 43 cents per share on revenue of $17 million.

Last week, the company said it will eliminate 40 percent of its jobs by the end of 2013. That will leave Ariad with about 295 employees, and it said the cuts will save it about $26 million before taxes.

Ariad wants to get Iclusig back on the market. The company said it wants to revise the prescribing information on Iclusig and create a strategy to mitigate the drug's risks.

Shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. fell 22 cents, or 8.6 percent, to $2.34 in afternoon trading. The stock has fallen 85.1 percent from its closing price on Oct. 8.

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