Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) recently announced that it has reduced its work force by
approximately 18% (30 positions) in order to utilize its
resources more efficiently. Further, Rigel Pharma stated that
most of the effected employees were from its research and
development wing. As a result of this move, Rigel Pharma expects
to incur a substantial one-time charge in the third quarter of
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Apart from trimming its workforce, Rigel Pharma also announced
certain measures regarding its pipeline development. Rigel Pharma
said that it will no longer pursue the development of its
candidate fostamatinib for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or
lymphoma. This decision followed the unsatisfactory performance
of the candidate in studies for the above indications.
We remind investors that Rigel Pharma previously developed
). However, AstraZeneca returned the rights to fostamatinib in
Jun, 2013. AstraZeneca took this decision following the below par
results of the candidate in the RA indication.
The company intends to continue developing fostamatinib for
treating patients suffering from immune thrombocytopenic purpura,
a blood disorder. Following encouraging results of fostamatinib
in this indication in a phase II study, Rigel Pharma intends to
evaluate the candidate in a phase III study. Rigel Pharma will
initiate the study (n~150) following discussions with regulatory
authorities. The study is expected to be completed by 2015.
Rigel Pharma also announced that it will continue to develop
phase II candidates R333 (discoid lupus) and R348 (dry eye). Data
from the studies on R333 and R348 are expected by year end and
the second quarter of 2014, respectively. Rigel Pharma expects to
advance one of the two candidates into phase III development by
Rigel currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). At present,
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
) look attractive with both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong