Amicus Therapeutics, which develops chaperone pharmaceuticals for oral medicines, will be saying good-bye to a lot of familiar faces. According to its third-quarter report, released on October 29, Amicus will terminate relationships with 17 contractors, end a two-year partnership with Wayne-based Shire Pharmaceuticals that has focused on developing a trio of drugs for lead lysosomal storage disease, and shed an expected 26 workers — 20 percent of its staff, including CFO Jim Dentzer — by 2011.

The dissolution with Shire, which paid Amicus almost $50 million in 2007 to co-develop a trio of lead pharmacological chaperone compounds for the treatment of lysosomal storage disorders, will give Amicus exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Amigal, Plicera, and AT2220 outside of the United States. It will also give Amicus $5.2 million, which Shire will pay in the fourth quarter as part of the termination deal, according to Amicus.

According to the original statement on the partnership from November, 2007, Amicus stood to gain $150 million for development milestones and $240 million in sales milestones plus royalties through its deal with Shire. The company did not comment on the state of those projections.

Amicus CEO John Crowley called Shire “an excellent partner,” but added that reacquiring Amigal puts the company in a better position before its shareholders.

The reduction of staff will occur at all levels, according to the third-quarter report. “Amicus is taking this step to reduce costs and to align its resources with its key strategic priorities,” the company stated. The move is expected to save the company nearly $1 million in the fourth quarter.

“After extensive review of our business plan, we have made some very difficult decisions to restructure our workforce to best enable us to align the company around the three key strategic priorities for Amicus going forward,” said Crowley. “We are highly confident that with this restructuring and strategic repositioning, we are well poised to maximize shareholder value while ensuring that we deliver on our mission to provide innovative and high quality therapies.”

Amicus expects to end 2009 with approximately $70 to $80 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, according to the announcement. The $5.2 million from Shire is expected to “be sufficient to fund operations and capital expenditure requirements into the second half of 2011.” — Scott Morgan

Amicus Therapeutics, 5 Cedar Brook Drive, Cedar Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512; 609-662-2000; fax, 609-662-2001. John F. Crowley, CEO. Home page: www.amicustherapeutics.com.

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