- Less than a month after announcing plans to restructure and consider selling the company, Genocea Biosciences is winding down operations.
- The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech said Tuesday it will delist from the Nasdaq stock exchange. The company had received notice Monday that it no longer met Nasdaq’s listing qualifications after its shares traded below $1 for 30 consecutive business days.
- All employees, except those needed to close the business, will be let go, Genocea said. The company had 74 full-time workers as of Dec. 31, but already announced plans in April to reduce its workforce by 65% as it struggled to survive.
Established in 2006, Genocea originally focused on vaccines. It went public in 2014 and at one point saw its shares soar above $150.
But in 2017, just as the company was poised to begin a Phase 3 trial of an immunotherapy for herpes, Genocea announced that it was switching gears. The company ended its work on infectious diseases and instead began to focus on cancer, using its neoantigen technology designed to create personalized immunotherapies.
Genocea’s stock plummeted after the announcement in late September 2017 and never recovered, even as the company rolled out some early data on cancer therapies this year that it described as encouraging.
In a last-ditch effort, Genocea on April 28 said it was bringing in an investment bank and other professional advisers to evaluate alternatives such as a merger or sale of part or all of the company. BioNTech had scooped up Neon Therapeutics, a rival also involved in neoantigen research, in 2020.
Without a buyer, Genocea faces a market that has seemingly little appetite for funding small cash-strapped companies. “We will continue to see more of this culling of public biotech names,” Baird analyst Brian Skorney wrote in an April 29 note to investors after the demise of Kaleido Biosciences. "A righting of the ship feels like a necessary part of the eventual rebound in biotech," he added.