Esperion to cut work force 40%

ANN ARBOR—Esperion Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ESPR), developers of a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, announced a 40 percent work force reduction and said it would focus its marketing efforts more online amid lower-than-predicted sales of its drugs.

“In-person access to health care providers has been negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Esperion President and CEO Sheldon Koenig. “We are adapting to meet their needs in a more effective way that grows awareness of our products at the same time. Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death in the world. Esperion is fortunate to have two well-received first-in-class medicines approved and available, providing us the opportunity to become a leader in the cardiovascular market.”

Esperion’s two drugs, Nexletol and Nexlizet, have been shown in clinical trials to sharply reduce blood cholesterol levels without the unpleasant side effects, including muscle pain and weakness, that some people experience with statin drugs.

Esperion said the cuts would “align operational and expense structure to better enable future growth for its two first-in-class oral medicines.”

The company also announced updated expense guidance for fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022 reflecting lower than previously estimated operating costs and pre-announced preliminary, unaudited U.S. net product revenue of $10.5 million to $11 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Company officials said they would also focus commercialization efforts “on an optimized blend of focused outreach including a streamlined sales force, directed to targeted cardiologists and primary care physicians, and a suite of digital initiatives designed to increase awareness and utilization of its medicines in appropriate patients.”

The company now estimates research and development expenses for fiscal year 2021 to be $110 million to $115 million, down from $120 million to $130 million estimated previously, and selling, general, and administrative expenses to be $195 million to $200 million, down from $200 million to $210 million previously. Officials also estimated 2022 research and development expenses at $100 million to $110 million, and selling-general and administrative expenses to be $120 million to $130 million.

As of Sept. 30, the company had $153.7 million in available cash on hand.

The company will report full financial results for third quarter 2021 on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

To listen to a replay of a conference call discussing this announcement, visit investor.experion.com.

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