Cerulean slashes staff after trial fails
- Cerulean Pharma is cutting its workforce by 48% to just 23 employees, the company said after the close of the market Thursday.
- The cuts come as the company tries to conserve cash after the Phase 2 failure of its only product. Affected staff are being given severance and outplacement assistance, said Cerulean.
- The biotech's Phase 2 drug CRLX-101 in combination with Avastin (bevacizumab) missed its primary endpoint in a trial for renal cell carcinoma patients.
"This reduction in force is a difficult but necessary step as we refocus our development priorities for CRLX101, our lead NDC candidate," said Cerulean President and CEO Christopher Guiffre.
The cuts will allow the biotech to save about $5 million annually in operating costs. Cerulean had $47.2 million in cash and equivalents as of the end of the second quarter.
CRLX101 uses a nanoparticle technology that is meant to make highly toxic chemotherapies safer. However, it has failed more than once in mid-stage trials. In both failed trials, the CRLX101 combo performed significantly worse than standard-of-care.
Cerulean isn't giving up; the company intends to continue ongoing trials of the drug in combination with other therapies. It currently has two early-stage trials ongoing in combination with other therapies.
"We remain committed to unlocking the power of this potential best-in-class topoisomerase 1 inhibitor, as well as realizing the promise of our pipeline and platform," Guiffre added.
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