Another bad day for US drugmakers has seen Titan Pharmaceuticals lay off more staff, including its chief executive, EntreMed cut 60% of its jobs and Adventrx put up the ‘for sale’ sign.

Less than a fortnight after it axed 40% of its staff, around 17 people, Titan has announced further cuts “to reduce expenses and operations to the minimal level necessary” as the South San Francisco-based firm looks to find a partner or buyer for Probuphine. The latter is a rod made from a mixture of ethylene-vinyl acetate and buprenorphine which is in Phase III for the treatment of opioid addiction,

As part of the cuts, chief executive Marc Rubin and chief operating officer Sunil Bhonsle are stepping down but have agreed to assist the company during the next six months,” as needed”. Robert Farrell, chief financial officer, will assume the role of president.

Meanwhile the CEO and CFO at EntreMed, James Burns and Dane Saglio respectively, are leaving the firm which has slashed jobs by 60% in a bid to preserve capital and focus on the development of its most advanced drug candidate. That is ENMD-2076, which is in Phase I for patients with solid tumours and multiple myelomas.

The senior vice presidents of R&D and corporate business development, Kenneth Bair and Thomas Bliss, are also resigning from EntreMed. Mr Burns said that "these are difficult economic times for biotech companies” and “a smaller focused organisation will allow us to preserve cash and concentrate on ENMD-2076”. EntreMed expects to end the year with $23 million in cash.

Over at Adventrx Pharmaceuticals, chief financial officer Mark Bagnall said that the company is currently in discussions with “several candidates for both strategic and partnering transactions”. He added that “publicly announcing our exploration of strategic alternatives provides the best opportunity to find a partner who wishes to acquire one or both of our late-stage oncology assets".

The San Diego-based firm has two late-stage product candidates, both of which are reformulations of currently approved products – ANX-514 (docetaxel emulsion) and ANX-530 (vinorelbine emulsion).