Following the recent late-stage failure of its investigational Alzheimer's disease drug Dimebon, Medivation has become the latest company to announce job losses.

The San Francisco-based firm says it has reduced the number of staff by 23, or 20%. Chief executive David Hung said the move is a “difficult, yet necessary, step to manage our portfolio, operations and cash flow, to carry us through as many data readouts as possible to maximize the probability of success for our company”.

The job cuts come three weeks after data from the 598-patient CONNECTION trial which showed that Dimebon (latrepirdine), which is partnered with Pfizer, did not meet its co-primary or secondary efficacy endpoints compared to placebo. Specifically, no statistically significant improvements were achieved on cognition, global function, activities of daily living or behaviour.

Dr Hung said that “our top priority is further analysis of the CONNECTION data to better understand the impact on the development of Dimebon for Alzheimer's and Huntington diseases”. He added that near-term priorities for 2010 include completing patient accrual in two of the ongoing Dimebon trials – CONCERT, a 12-month study in combination with Pfizer/Eisai’s Aricept (donepezil) in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's patients, and HORIZON, a six-month trial in Huntington disease patients.

Dr Hung added that Medivation is also looking to complete patient accrual in the AFFIRM trial of MDV3100 in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer. The company also noted that senior vice president of clinical development, Karen Reeves, and Lisa Taylor, vice president of commercial development, are leaving and the search for a new chief financial officer has been called off.