- Rubius Therapeutics on Wednesday revealed plans to shut down and liquidate its assets, four years after it went public at a nearly $2 billion valuation with the goal to re-engineer blood cells to fight disease.
- The company’s board approved the plan to dissolve and will seek approval by shareholders at a meeting “as soon as practicable,” according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Rubius in November said it would consider a sale after it halted its research programs, laid off almost all of its employees and parted ways with several top executives.
- If the plan is approved, Rubius will pay down liabilities and return to shareholders remaining cash, which had totaled more than $100 million at the end of September but was substantially reduced by the company’s prepayment of $76 million worth of loan obligations in October. A property sale in December gave it another $19 million.
Tougher funding conditions have forced biotechs to retrench over the past year by laying off staff or reducing research. More recently, some companies have opted to close entirely. Rubius is one of at least five biotechs that have announced plans to shut down in the past four months.
Ambys Medicines, which launched in 2018 to develop cell therapies for liver disease, wound down operations in late 2022, according to the website of one of its backers, Third Rock Ventures. Another Third Rock biotech, Rheos Medicines, also shut down late last year, according to Endpoints News.
Sio Gene Therapies and Otonomy both announced plans in December to shutter operations. And in January, Goldfinch Bio confirmed it was closing, selling off the rights to its medicines to Karuna Therapeutics earlier this month.
Rubius’ decision ends a drawn-out decline. In 2019, the company began to encounter delays in producing study data and later switched its research focus. Its shares soared in March 2021 when the company claimed early clinical data offered proof of concept for its technology. But more clinical success did not follow, and Rubius started halting trials and cutting staff last year.
Rubius stock traded lower by around 9% in morning trading at 15 cents apiece, half their value in November when the company put itself up for sale and well off highs above $27 apiece in 2021.