Alexza Hires Lazard to Explore Options as It Warns of Job Cuts

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Alexza Pharmaceuticals Inc., the maker of an inhaled antipsychotic therapy backed by a U.S. advisory panel, said the company hired Lazard Ltd. to explore strategic options including selling itself.

Alexza also expects to “significantly reduce its workforce” to conserve cash as it seeks Food and Drug Administration and European approval for its experimental treatment, Adasuve, the Mountain View, California-based company said today in a statement. The drugmaker had 97 employees at the end of 2010, according to Bloomberg data.

An FDA advisory panel on Dec. 12 recommended approval of Adasuve in a 9-8 vote contingent upon the company using a risk mitigation plan proposed by the agency. The therapy, which would be Alexza’s first marketed product, uses an inhalation device developed by the company to deliver a vaporized form of the drug loxapine to the lungs for rapid absorption into the bloodstream. Alexza said it has a partnership with closely held Grupo Ferrer Internacional SA, based in Barcelona, Spain, to commercialize the product in Europe.

Alexza’s shares fell 2.9 percent to 66 cents at the close of New York trading and have declined 47 percent this year.

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