Akili Laying Off 30% of Workforce

Developer of EndeavorRx, a game-based treatment for ADHD, is pulling back from the pipeline and focusing on near-term growth, the CEO said in an email to employees.

Akili, the developer of a game-based treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has moved to lay off 46 employees, or about 30% of its workforce.

CEO and co-founder Eddie Martucci, Ph.D., sent an email to employees announcing the layoffs last week, and the text of the email is posted on the company’s website.

Th 8K notice that the Boston-based company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission says severance and other costs associated with layoffs will be between $1.5 and $2.5 million and that expects to record the charges in the first quarter of 2023.

Akili’s ADHD product is called EndeavorRx, and the company bills it as the “first-and-only FDA-authorized treatment delivered through a video game experience” and says it is working to develop a “a new category of medicine – medicine that is validated through clinical trials like a drug or medical device but experienced like entertainment.”

In his email to employees, which was addressed to “Aklilians,” Martucci said the company is pulling back on pipeline and growth initiatives that are not necessary to near-term growth. He mentioned a focus “EndeavorRx traction” and “key adoption, coverage, and engagement (A.C.E.) initiatives.”

Akili’s stock was trading at about $1.50 a share this morning. For most of last year, it was trading at about $10 a share before it started to dramatically slide in August.

On Jan. 5, the company announced positive results from a trial of EndeavorRx in adolescents with ADHD that it said will be used to apply for an expanded label for the treatment. According to the announcement, the results for “attention improvement” from the open-label study involving 162 adolescents, ages 13-17, were three times larger than those seen in the trial that led to FDA authorization for EndeavorRx for children, ages 8 to 12.