Biotech firm MDRNA said today that it will terminate 23 employees, or about 30 percent of its workforce, mostly from its waning intranasal...

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Biotech firm MDRNA said today that it will terminate 23 employees, or about 30 percent of its workforce, mostly from its waning intranasal therapy franchise.

The terminations include President Gordon Brandt, Chief Scientific Officer Henry Constantino, and Chief Business Officer Timothy Duffy. Most employees will be laid off by Aug. 31, the company said as it released it second-quarter financial results.

MDRNA, formerly known as Nastech, said last week that its experimental nasal spray to treat obesity had failed at a midstage clinical trial.

MDRNA has been struggling since Procter & Gamble pulled out of a potentially lucrative research partnership with the company last November, after it determined a nasal spray for the treatment of osteoporosis wasn’t working as well as expected.

The company signaled a new direction in June, when it announced a name change and a new chief executive officer, and said it would focus on RNA interference therapeutics, a frontier field in biotechnology.

Ángel González: 206-515-5644 or agonzalez@seattletimes.com