Uncertainty surrounding the future of its experimental cancer drug satraplatin has forced Germany’s GPC Biotech into a restructuring programme that will result in a 15% reduction in its workforce.

The job cuts will affect 46 workers in the USA, the Martinsried-based company said, noting that the reductions will take in drug development, commercialisation and administration. The move comes after GPC withdrew its marketing application in the USA for satraplatin, for the treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients whose prior chemotherapy has failed, after the company received a negative response from an advisory committee of the US Food and Drug Administration.

GPC then posted a 56% loss for the second quarter to 23.7 million euros, primarily due to the formation of a sales and marketing force in the USA for satraplatin. Chief executive Bernd Seizinger said that the decision to reduce staff “has been a very difficult one to make, particularly since we have been able to build and grow such stellar teams. However, these decisions were necessary.”

He then went onto emphasise that “our belief in satraplatin remains strong and we are committed to doing everything we can” to bring it to the market. GPC also stated that it is planning to “slow down certain ongoing activities and not make further financial commitments” to its 1D09C3 monoclonal antibody for cancer and cell cycle inhibitors programmes. However, the company plans to “maintain the capability to ramp up these programmes later, should more resources be available to do so”.