Rubius Therapeutics’ plan to revive its crimson blood cell remedy analysis with a brand new method has run out of money and time, and the biotech is now seeking to strike a deal to salvage what’s left of the enterprise. The technique shift comes lower than two months after a company shakeup that slashed headcount by 75%.
The layoffs from the September restructuring had been anticipated to be full this month. Now, a lot of the remainder of the workers have gotten pink slips. In a Wednesday regulatory submitting, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Rubius mentioned it has laid off 42 employees, representing 82% of the present worker base.
“The Firm expects that these measures will cut back its working bills with the aim of permitting the Firm to pursue any viable strategic alternate options,” Rubius mentioned within the submitting.
Launched from enterprise capital agency Flagship Pioneering in 2015, Rubius set out with the bold aim of turning crimson blood cells into a brand new sort of cell remedy. As a result of these cells naturally flow into within the physique and have an extended life span, they provided the potential for a long-lasting therapeutic impact. Rubius had raised about $240 million previous to its 2018 IPO, which raised one other $241 million. Rubius’s preliminary analysis with a uncommon metabolic dysfunction stalled in early scientific improvement. In 2020, the biotech determined to shift its focus to the bigger indications of most cancers and autoimmune illness.
Rubius reached early scientific improvement with crimson cell therapies for most cancers. However in September, the corporate introduced it will undertake a brand new manufacturing course of for its cell therapies that executives mentioned can be sooner, cheaper, and extra environment friendly. Adopting the brand new course of meant the corporate would cease its most cancers applications and grow to be a preclinical firm as soon as once more.
When the corporate introduced its restructuring in September, executives mentioned they anticipated the financial savings would final the corporate till the top of subsequent yr, when it will have preclinical information supportive of its new expertise. On Wednesday, Rubius mentioned that it has new monkey information with its next-generation cell remedy platform. These outcomes present longer circulation time in contrast with the first-generation expertise. Rubius added that there have been different measures indicative of the remedy’s impact on the physique.
Regardless of the preclinical progress, Rubius ran out of cash. Following the September restructuring, Rubius repaid a $75 million mortgage from SLR Funding Corp. The corporate mentioned in a regulatory submitting at the moment that it was engaged on securing further capital to help the reorganization plan. On Wednesday, Rubius cited the early stage of its drug analysis together with its monetary situation as the rationale for searching for strategic alternate options that would embody the sale of the biotech’s property or a merger with one other firm.
Rubius estimates it is going to incur about $4.4 million in costs within the fourth quarter of this yr, primarily associated to severance funds. Rubius mentioned it plans to have interaction an funding financial institution to advise on its choices. Whereas a lot of the workforce is now gone, a small staff will stay to implement the brand new strategic evaluate. Rubius President and CEO Pablo Cagnoni has been appointed chair of the corporate’s board of administrators however will step away from his government roles on Nov. 15. At the moment, Dannielle Appelhans, who joined Rubius as its chief working officer final yr, will take over Cagnoni’s government function. The chief monetary officer and chief authorized officer may also depart on that date.
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