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CymaBay plans to explore strategic options, reduces workforce by 60%

CymaBay Therapeutics Inc. is laying off about 60% of its workforce in addition to other cost-cutting measures taken by the company as it explores strategic options regarding its development activities.

The Newark, Calif.-based company estimates that it will incur about $3 million to $4 million in costs in the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 due to these actions. CymaBay noted that about $2 million to $3 million of these costs will be in cash.

The company expects to complete the majority of the headcount reductions Dec. 19, while the remaining reductions will be finished by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

CymaBay's stock dove 76% to $1.33 on Nov. 25, following the termination of two mid-stage studies of its liver disease drug seladelpar after disappointing results.

The trials have been on clinical hold since late November 2019. The company received additional requests from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with regard to its seladelpar trials in primary sclerosing cholangitis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH.

NASH is a progressive liver disease that can result in cirrhosis, liver failure, cancer and death. Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a disease of the liver and gallbladder characterized by inflammation and scarring of the bile duct, which carries digestive liquid bile from the liver to the small intestine.

CymaBay said it concluded that it would not be reasonable or cost-effective to maintain the trials on hold given the time it would take to respond to the FDA requests.

The company's overall program for primary sclerosing cholangitis remains on hold as it continues its investigation of the atypical histological findings in the NASH study and continues its discussions with the FDA.