KaloBios, battered by a string of clinical failures, is planning to soldier on with its thinning pipeline, cutting 61% of its workforce to conserve cash.
The South San Francisco biotech is laying off 17 workers and regrouping around a once-failed antibody that it now believes has a future in leukemia. The treatment, lenzilumab, failed a Phase II trial in severe asthma last year, leading ex-partner Sanofi to pull the plug on a deal worth up to $290 million. But KaloBios sees hope that the antibody’s target could play a role in the rare chronic myelomonocytic leukemia and is now plotting to start a Phase I trial in the fourth quarter.
The company’s most recent failure saw an antibody called KB001-A miss the mark in a Phase II study on a bacterial infection related to cystic fibrosis, results that were disclosed in January and quickly followed by a 20% headcount reduction and the departure of CEO David Pritchard.
Turning its full attention to lenzilumab’s leukemia program, KaloBios said it’s pausing enrollment in a Phase II study for the blood cancer therapy KB004. At the same time, KaloBios is looking into “strategic alternatives,” which would include the unlikely outcome of finding a company to buy it outright.
“While this decision was extremely difficult, aligning and managing our limited resources to maximize the opportunity for continued development of lenzilumab is our most important priority,” KaloBios Chief Financial Officer and interim CEO Herb Cross said in a statement. “I would like to sincerely thank all of our departing employees and recognize their important and valued contributions to KaloBios.”
The news sent KaloBios’ already decimated shares down about 30% on Thursday night, as investors reacted to the company’s decision to stay in business and not simply return what cash it has to shareholders.
Source: Fierce Biotech
The companies will explore opportunities to apply Flagship’s innovative bioplatforms – an ecosystem that currently comprises 41 companies – to scientific challenges in disease areas within cardiometabolic and rare diseases and initiate research programmes based on these.
BD is expanding its long-running partnership with the blood collection company Babson Diagnostics. The two companies have been working together since 2019 on a device that can gather small volumes of blood from the capillaries in the fingertip without requiring any specialized training, and beginning with a focus on supporting primary care in retail settings.
Wednesday, Australian biotech CSL said (PDF) the regulatory review of its $11.7 billion acquisition of Switzerland’s Vifor Pharma will take “a few more months,” suggesting it won’t be able to close the transaction by June 2022 as previously expected.