NicOx has unveiled plans for a restructuring, "ensuring the best use of existing cash resources" and is on the search for new products.

The French biotech says it is implementing a planned reduction of its workforce by one-third and is focusing on its objective of "creating a commercially-focused development organisation". The company adds that with the help of external advisors, it is targeting "late-stage or marketed products in specialist areas which have been identified as having growth potential".

NicOx has had a tough year or so, following the US Food and Drug Administration's decision to reject naproxcinod in July last year for the relief of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. A European filing was pulled and a major restructuring led to 40 people remaining in R&D posts by June 2011, down from 79 the year before. Before these latest cuts, total headcount was 54.

In addition, NicOx is also continuing to explore "alternative funding options" for its promising early-stage programmes, although that will not involve a return to the markets for more financing. Indeed, the Sophia Antipolis-based company is in a healthy position on that front and had cash and equivalents of 96.2 million euros at the end of September.

NicOx added that following an amendment to an agreement with Spain's Ferrer, it is now actively seeking a new partner for NCX 1047 in the USA. The latter is a preclinical nitric oxide-donating anti-inflammatory developed for dermatology indications.

Further along the pipeline, a Phase IIb study of BOL-303259-X, a glaucoma drug licensed to Bausch & Lomb, will be completed by the end of the year, with preliminary results expected in the first quarter of 2012.

NicOx also has not given up on naproxcinod and formally appealed the FDA's decision in July this year. As for Europe, the firm says it is still evaluating its options with advisors and Ferrer, which has an option for the rights to the drug in certain European countries.