Sana Biotechnology will cut its workforce by 15% and reprioritize its drug research in a company restructuring announced Wednesday.
The Seattle-based biotechnology company, which is developing engineered cell therapies, is taking steps to extend its cash runway, including stopping further investment in a program using cardiac muscle cells to treat heart failure.
The workforce reduction will trim its staff by about 75 employees, based on its Sept. 30 headcount of 494 full-time staff. With the layoffs, Sana joins a growing list of biotechs that have been forced to cut payroll this year.
Sana’s lead program, dubbed SC291, is a modified off-the-shelf cell therapy aimed at B cell cancers. The company expects to ask the Food and Drug Administration for permission to start clinical testing this year, with initial data expected in 2023.
Sana is also planning to advance two other programs into trials next year, and another two in 2024.
With the restructuring, the company anticipates it will have enough cash to fund operations into 2025. Sana held $511 million in cash at the end of the third quarter. While that amount would be a comfortable sum for some companies, Sana spends heavily on research and development. R&D expenses totaled $76 million in the third quarter, and $222 million across the first nine months of the year.
Sana has drawn attention for its extensive funding, having raised $588 million in a 2021 initial public offering that ranks as the fourth largest since 2018.
Shares in Sana were trading at about $4.50 a piece Wednesday morning, far below the $25 the company priced shares at in its IPO.