Nektar Therapeutics ( NKTR - Get Report), in an emphatic cost-cutting move, is firing 25% of its employees, restructuring management and pledging to reduce spending. The company's action was anticipated by Wall Street because executives had talked to analysts early this month about cutting expenses. On Thursday, executives filled in the blanks, saying that 200 people would lose their jobs. Nektar estimated that it will incur a pretax restructuring charge in 2007 of $10 million to $12 million, primarily for severance. "During the past several months, we have enacted change at Nektar that prioritizes strong management, timely decision-making and efficient use of resources," said Howard Robin,
president and CEO, who joined San Carlos, Calif.-based Nektar in January. "Today's actions greatly strengthen our ability to build a world-class therapeutics company." By early afternoon, Nektar's stock was down 25 cents, or 2.1%, to $11.53. Nektar is perhaps best known as Pfizer's ( PFE - Get Report) partner in developing Exubera, the first inhaled insulin. Nektar developed the insulin power and the inhalation device. Pfizer is in charge of the marketing, and the launch has been a profound disappointment. Nektar said that some $65 million in spending cuts will be spread throughout the company, including R&D, general and administrative costs and capital spending. Nektar said $27 million in cuts will be realized this year. Since taking over as CEO, Robin has made several management changes. The company said Thursday that Louis Drapeau, the chief financial officer since January 2006, will retire in a few months. Truc Le, senior vice president for operations, is leaving the company and has been replaced by Michael Simms.