Kindred sheds one-third of its workforce as CEO vows bright future for pipeline

Richard Chin, Kindred Biosciences CEO

Kindred Biosciences ($KIN) is laying off 31% of its staff, or 18 people, even as CEO Richard Chin predicts his company will have "multiple successful drugs"--including two approvals in the next two years. Chin made the forecast during an update that the company webcast on Jan. 11, just after it disclosed the layoffs in a filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Kindred will incur $700,000 in restructuring costs, according to the filing. The company expects to complete the restructuring this quarter.

Chin has had a tough time persuading investors that Kindred will be able to survive, though he did his best to make a case for the company's pipeline during the webcast, in particular its biotech-based drugs. Kindred announced it's launching a new "scaffold technology" that will allow it to create "bi-specific" molecules, which can bind to two targets simultaneously. The technology could "accelerate" many of Kindred's pipeline projects, Chin said.

Kindred is making progress on several of its drugs for companion animals, Chin said, including one to treat anemia in cats and another to treat atopic dermatitis in dogs.

On Nov. 16, Kindred announced that a pivotal trial of a drug to treat pyrexia (fever) in horses had produced positive topline results. That news, however, was overshadowed by Kindred's announcement that its pivotal trial of SentiKind to treat post-surgical pain in dogs, failed. Kindred's shares dropped 14% to $4.73 following the announcement.

Kindred continues to burn cash as it tries to bring its pipeline to fruition. The company's net loss widened from $6.1 million to $7.1 million in the third quarter of last year. The company's stock, which closed at $3.45 Friday, is trading at half its 52-week high.

Chin, for his part, refuses to lose his optimism for Kindred's future in animal health. "Our goal is to become the leading company in this sector and we believe we are well-positioned to do so," Chin said during the webcast.

- here's Kindred's SEC filing
- access a replay of the webcast here