Germany’s GPC Biotech has announced another round of job cuts as it tries to overcome the difficulties caused by its failure to win approval in the USA for the prostate cancer drug.

The company said that this latest restructuring will sharpen its focus on oncology clinical development efforts and further reduce costs to extend its cash reserves to cover three years of operating expenses. The restructuring is mainly focused on GPC’s early-stage research activities in Munich and will result in 38 job losses. The remaining work force will be 14 in Munich and 49 in Princeton, New Jersey.

GPC also noted that two of the company's co-founders, chief operating officer Elmar Maier chief scientific officer Sebastian Meier-Ewert are retiring to allow for “an appropriate resizing of the board”. These latest cuts come after an announcement in November that the firm was slashing its workforce by over 100.

The Martinsried-based company’s woes stem from its withdrawal of a marketing application in the USA for satraplatin after receiving a negative response from the Food and Drug Administration’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee. Nevertheless, despite that setback, GPC said it is also “evaluating potential registrational paths for satraplatin”, beyond second-line hormone-refractory prostate cancer, though it is still waiting to see what happens to a European marketing authorisation application submitted by partner Pharmion last year. A decision is expected in the second half of 2008.

Aside from satraplatin, GPC said it is discontinuing internal development of the 1D09C3 monoclonal antibody, which is in Phase I trials for relapsed/refractory B-cell lymphomas. However, RGB-286638, a broad-spectrum cell cycle kinase inhibitor, is expected to enter the clinic within the next six months.

Chief executive Bernd Seizinger said the plan “will give us additional flexibility, even under challenging market conditions” and its cash reserves at the end of 2007 were 65 million euros, 5 million euros more than anticipated. The news was greeted favourably by investors and pushed GPC’s shares up 5.6% to 2.64 euros.