Eleven Bio slashes workforce after drug test failures
- Eleven Biotherapeutics will cut 70% of its workforce, leaving only six people to salvage what's left and try to move forward after the failure of its lead drug.
- The company has faced two notable phase 3 failures of its lead candidate EBI-005 (isunikinra) in less than a year. EBI-005 is an IL-1 receptor inhibitor, which has been in development for treatment of dry eye disease and conjunctivitis.
- Eleven Bio said the decision to lay off staff was aimed at preserving resources while it determines a new plan, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In January, Eleven Bio announced that EBI-005 had failed to meet primary endpoints in a conjunctivitis trial. That came eight months after EBI-005 fell short of its goals in a clinical trial testing the drug against dry eye disease. Eleven Bio's stock plunged after the January news, trading below 30 cents.
Eleven Bio currently trades above $2, helped by a decision to license its diabetic macular edema drug, EBI-031, to Roche. Under the terms of the deal, Roche gave Eleven Bio $7.5 million upfront with potential milestones totaling $270 million.
In cutting its workforce, Eleven Bio will incur around $900,000 in restructuring costs.
It's not over until its over, and the company's ability to develop or out-license its technologies, which leverage the anti-inflammatory effects of interleukin cytokine signaling, could help it weather the storm.
The company also hopes to continue development of EBI-005 for a subset of patients who responded to the drug during clinical trials. But the focus will be on EBI-031.
As of March 31, Eleven Bio had $13 million in cash and equivalents on hand. When it reported failure of isunakinra, the company said it expected to be able to fund operations through the fourth quarter.
- Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News Eleven Bio Axes 70% of Workforce