PureTech Health is cutting a small number of positions after a recent decision to deprioritize work on an early-stage drug delivery technology, a spokesperson for the biotechnology company creator confirmed to BioPharma Dive.
PureTech, which has founded a handful of biotechs in addition to developing its own drugs, will no longer advance its “Orasome” platform, and instead will focus resources elsewhere in its pipeline. Orasome was used by PureTech to refer to technology for the oral delivery of therapeutic payloads like messenger RNA that would typically be delivered by injection.
"PureTech's unique model includes moving resources toward the programs with the most promise,” said Joe Bolen, PureTech’s chief scientific officer until his recent retirement, in a Feb. 14 statement. “To that end, and with a focus on translational and clinical work, we have recently deprioritized our Orasome technology platform following a key go/no go experiment.”
The spokesperson said that the move will affect a “small number of employees’ positions,” adding that PureTech is working to find them new roles within the company or within its network of companies.
“We routinely conduct what we call ‘killer experiments’ to determine whether a platform or candidate meets our rigorous threshold for advancement. This is a core part of our model and the approach has enabled us to be capital-efficient and to focus our resources on the candidates with the greatest probability of success,” the spokesperson said.
Bolen, a former Moderna executive who became PureTech's CSO in November 2015, appears to have stepped down from his role this month, according to his LinkedIn profile. He will serve on the research and development subcommittee of PureTech’s board of directors, however.
While PureTech is stopping work on its Orasome platform, it is continuing to develop a pipeline led by four experimental drugs now in clinical trials. One, dubbed LYT-300, is being advanced into Phase 2 testing among healthy volunteers and people with postpartum depression this year, the company said Tuesday in the same statement that disclosed the Orasome decision.
The treatment is an oral prodrug of the steroid allopregnanolone, which is currently approved in the U.S. as an intravenous formulation administered over 60 hours.
PureTech is also testing a deuterated form of the drug pirfenidone for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other fibrotic conditions.
But the company is perhaps best known for a company creation model that has led it to found eight drug and tech developers, including Karuna Therapeutics, Akili Interactive and Vor Biopharma.
PureTech held $341 million in cash as of June 30, 2022, which it expects will fund operations through the first quarter of 2026, the spokesperson said.