Medicure announces lay-offs, VP resignation after CV drug fails

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Medicure, a cardiovascular-focused biopharmaceutical company, has reported a restructuring plan that will eliminate approximately 50 employees and full-time consultants over the next month. The company also announced the resignation of Mr. Jan-Ake Westin as Medicure’s vice president of clinical development.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based company said it anticipates that further reductions may occur over the next several months.

“Jan-Ake Westin elected to end his contract with Medicure in order to assist with this strategic shift for the company,” said Medicure’s President and CEO Albert Friesen, PhD. “Westin will endeavor to keep himself available to work with Medicure and its affiliates on a consultative basis to further the health of the company's clinical program.”

The changes follow the company’s announcement in February not to submit an application for MC-1 marketing approval to the FDA for the CABG indication at this time, which was based on an analysis of the data from its pivotal phase 3 MEND-CABG II clinical trial that showed that it did not meet the primary endpoint.

Medicure said the trial was designed to evaluate the effect of its lead product MC-1 versus placebo on the incidence of cardiovascular death or nonfatal MI up to and including 30 days following coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

As a result of the restructuring, the company said it expects that its cash position will be sufficient to fund operations into the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

Medicure also said it is currently exploring alternatives for strengthening its financial position and will provide additional guidance as appropriate. The company said its near-term focus will be on its commercial asset Aggrastat and the development of MC-1 for chronic cardiovascular and metabolic disease.