Plant-based Covid-19 vaccine developer Medicago lays off 60+ at North Carolina plant – Endpoints News
Among other things, Medicago had looked at a plant-based vaccine against Covid-19. But these plans are not going in the direction Medicago wanted.
Medicago’s U.S. subsidiary Medicago USA filed a WARN notice Wednesday in North Carolina, saying 62 employees at its Durham manufacturing facility will be out of a job within two months.
Medicago CEO Toshifumi Tada, who recently joined the biotech earlier this year, said News about endpoints by email as:
.. as the pandemic has developed, the epidemiological situation and the availability of bivalent vaccines have shown the need for Medicago to review its original plan and its global strategy regarding COVIFENZ. We are working hard on a new approach to developing and producing plant-based medicines that meet the needs of global public health. As part of this effort, and after careful consideration of Medicago’s current and future needs, we have made the difficult decision to terminate the contracts of 62 employees at our manufacturing site in Durham, North Carolina, before the end of 2022.
We are truly grateful for the commitment and dedication of these talented individuals, and we wish them the very best for the future.
Tada became CEO back in May, moving from head of vaccine business development at Medicago’s parent company, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. This is the latest development for the vaccine manufacturer after the WHO failed Medicago’s Covid-19 vaccine earlier this year. Medicago partnered with GSK to use one of GSK’s adjuvants to boost the immune response.
The international organization failed because of the biotech’s ties to Big Tobacco, specifically Philip Morris International, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes and a part owner of Medicago.
Many biotech companies – and several pharmaceuticals – have had to pull out the trimmers in 2022 due to budget constraints and R&D mishaps. Biotechs include Zosano, which has now filed for bankruptcy and is selling off all its assets, after making two rounds of layoffs to try to stay afloat. Or more recently Ambrx, which last week announced plans to cut 15% of its workforce in an effort to expand its cash resources.
On the pharma side, AbbVie recently laid off 100 in California, just as Bristol Myers let go of 260 employees as it looked to integrate Turning Point Therapeutics into the group.
Biogen also started laying off people in light of Aduhelm’s failure as early as March. A senior company official told Endpoints at the time that more than 100 people have been laid off so far, including two-thirds of Alzheimer’s commercial team and all Alzheimer’s field managers.