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SAGE Therapeutics (SAGE) plans reduction in workforce of approximately 53 percent

April 7, 2020 4:03 PM EDT

Sage Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAGE), a biopharmaceutical company committed to developing novel therapies with the potential to transform the lives of people with debilitating disorders of the brain, today announced a restructuring intended to enable the Company to advance its corporate strategy and pipeline. The resulting cost savings are comprised of a reduction in the workforce of approximately 53 percent, in addition to an expected decrease in external expenses that together are anticipated to result in annualized savings of approximately $170 million, of which $150 million is related to SG&A. The workforce reduction will primarily affect the ZULRESSO™ (brexanolone) CIV injection commercial operation and related SG&A support functions. The Company remains committed to working with healthcare providers and patients seeking access to ZULRESSO, but commercial efforts will be focused on geographies that have existing, active ZULRESSO treating sites.

“The headwinds we are facing individually and collectively, along with a recognition of our need to move forward as a company, have led to this difficult decision. We believe this cost reduction and reallocation of resources will help Sage advance our portfolio in a way that is consistent with our mission of delivering medicines that matter to people with serious brain health disorders,” said Jeff Jonas, M.D., chief executive officer at Sage Therapeutics. “Unfortunately, we will be saying goodbye to some of our valued colleagues and I want to thank them for their dedication to always doing what’s best for patients. Moving forward, we are confident that we have a great team that will continue to execute on our multi-franchise strategy. We believe Sage’s mission is more important than ever, especially as mental health issues are coming to the forefront and will continue to have significant impact, even after the current phase of the pandemic.”

Based on the current operating plan and assumptions, Sage expects that its balance of cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash, and marketable securities of approximately $1.0 billion at the end of 2019 will support operations into 2022. Sage expects to incur a one-time cost of approximately $31 million, associated with the reduction in workforce, primarily in the second quarter of 2020. The Company anticipates operating expenses in 2020 will be lower than the previous year; additional financial guidance will be provided on the Company’s 1Q 2020 quarterly earnings update in May.

The Company continues to focus on its three brain health franchises – depression, neurology and neuropsychiatry – and anticipated 2020 and 2021 R&D milestones remain unchanged.

Strategic focus areas

The restructuring will enable the Company to focus on key strategic areas and supporting ongoing development activity, including:

  • Planned initiation and completion of three new zuranolone pivotal studies; completion of the 30 mg arm of zuranolone SHORELINE Study in major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Efforts to meet clinical timelines goals, including those related to SAGE-324 and SAGE-718
  • Maintain a level of access to ZULRESSO by focusing on geographies with existing treating sites that administer this innovative treatment

2020 planned trial initiations

  • Zuranolone (topline data anticipated in 2021)
    • Initiate Phase 3 study evaluating zuranolone 50 mg in women with postpartum depression (PPD)
    • Initiate Phase 3 study evaluating zuranolone 50 mg in patients with MDD
    • Initiate Phase 3 study evaluating zuranolone 50 mg in patients with MDD as an acute rapid response treatment (RRT) when co-initiated with an SSRI
    • Add cohort to Phase 3 SHORELINE Study evaluating zuranolone 50 mg in patients with MDD
  • SAGE-324
    • Initiate Phase 2 study evaluating SAGE-324 60 mg in essential tremor (ET) (1H 2020)
  • SAGE-718
    • Initiate Phase 2a open-label study or studies evaluating SAGE-718 in one or more disorders associated with cognitive dysfunction (2020)

Conference Call/Webcast Information:

Sage will host a conference call and webcast today, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. EDT to discuss the recent corporate updates. The live webcast can be accessed on the investor page of Sage's website at investor.sagerx.com. A replay of the webcast will be available on Sage's website approximately two hours after the completion of the event and will be archived for up to 30 days.



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