Titan Pharmaceuticals is the latest drugmaker to reveal its perilous financial state, having announced that it is to cut its staff by 40%, with more job losses to come “in the next several weeks”.

Titan did not say exactly how many people were losing their jobs, but figures for August showed that the South San Francisco-based firm had 35 employees. The company says that its remaining staff is focused on “reducing all current clinical and manufacturing development activities to the minimal level necessary to continue its efforts to realise the potential value of its assets, particularly the probuphine programme”.

Probuphine, which is in Phase III for the treatment of opioid addiction, is a rod made from a mixture of ethylene-vinyl acetate and buprenorphine that is designed to provide “continuous, non-fluctuating, long-term therapeutic levels” of the latter drug for six months after a single administration. However in October, the US Patent and Trademark Office in October rejected an application for Titan covering probuphine for treatment for opioid addiction and chronic pain.

The company has hired JSB Partners to help it find a development partner or divest the probuphine asset. The news marks the end of a woeful year for Titan, which has suffered a couple of major setbacks on the clinical front of late.

Titan’s experimental treatment for Parkinson’s disease, spheramine, failed a Phase IIb study at the beginning of July, causing partner Bayer to withdraw from the collaboration. Later that month, the US Food and Drug Administration in late July rejected an application for the schizophrenia drug iloperidone, which Titan had licensed to Vanda Pharmaceuticals.