- Orchard Therapeutics said Thursday it has laid off about a quarter of its staff, given up on a new manufacturing facility in California and shifted its clinical focus, as the gene therapy company looks to preserve cash and focus on higher value products.
- The moves will result in savings of $125 million and extend the company's cash runway into 2022, Orchard said in a statement.
- The company had $264 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments as of March 31. It employed 252 full-time workers at the end of December.
The new strategy represents a major shift for Orchard, which in December 2018 announced plans to build a 150,000-square-foot gene therapy manufacturing facility in Fremont, California, in a bet on its own production abilities. At the time, Orchard expected the facility to create more than 100 jobs.
Now, that project will be terminated before construction ever started, a company spokesperson confirmed. Orchard will also shut down a facility in Menlo Park, California, that houses office space and laboratories.
Closing the Menlo Park site is part of an effort to "consolidate our R&D efforts to a single site out of London," the spokesperson said.
On the clinical side, Orchard plans to focus on more common conditions, including new programs in frontotemporal dementia and Crohn's disease. The company said it will also prioritize its work in three neurometabolic disorders and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a life-threatening immune disorder.
At the same time, the company is reducing investment in its OTL-101 treatment for adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency, sometimes called "bubble-boy disease," and OTL-300 for transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia, a blood disorder.
Orchard said it's expecting European Union approval of OTL-200 for metachromatic leukodystrophy in the second half of 2020 and intends to introduce the product in the first half of 2021.
It's also received feedback from the Food and Drug Administration on OTL-200 and plans to file an investigational new drug application and seek a Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy designation for the treatment this year.
The company is also getting ready to submit applications for U.S. and EU approval of OTL-103 for Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome in 2021.