RARE Daily

Passage Bio Cuts 23 Percent of Staff to Preserve Cash

November 14, 2022

Rare Daily Staff

Gene therapy focused biotech Passage Bio said in its third quarter 2022 financial results that it is streamlining operations and cutting 23 percent of its workforce in order to extend its cash runway into the first half of 2025.

“Passage Bio has tremendous potential to transform the lives of patients with devastating CNS orders for which there is significant unmet clinical need,” said William Chou, the newly appointed CEO at Passage Bio. “To achieve this mission, we must be thoughtful in our allocation of resources to ensure we can deliver meaningful clinical data across our programs and maintain a best-in-class pipeline.”

It is the second downsizing this year, following a 13 percent workforce reduction in mid-March, and another in a wave of biotech restructurings as companies deal with raising cash in a bear market. Global Genes has counted 41 rare disease focused biotech downsizings so far in 2022.

Passage Bio says it will refocus strategy toward advancing the Imagine-1 clinical trial for GM1 gangliosidosis and the upliFT-D clinical trial for frontotemporal dementia, and a preclinical pipeline in adult CNS indications through its partnership with UPenn’s Gene Therapy Program.

“Moving forward, we are streamlining our operations and refocusing our efforts to advance our ongoing Imagine-1 and upliFT-D clinical trials, providing opportunity to demonstrate proof of concept across both pediatric and adult CNS indications, and continue to advance our preclinical programs through our partnership with Penn’s Gene Therapy Program,” said Chou.

The streamlining operations and refocused strategy to prioritize research and development will extend cash runway into the first half of 2025, decrease operating expenses and reduce the workforce by approximately 23 percent. Moving forward, Passage Bio will focus on advancing its Imagine-1 and upliFT-D clinical programs for GM1 gangliosidosis and frontotemporal dementia, respectively. The company will stop further clinical development of PBKR03 for Krabbe disease and explore strategic alternatives to advance this program, as well as its program for metachromatic leukodystrophy, PBML04. The company will also prioritize advancing its programs for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Huntington’s disease through its ongoing collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Gene Therapy Program.

Passage Bio said cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities were $213.8 million as of September 30, 2022, as compared to $239.3 million as of June 30, 2022. The company expects current cash and cash equivalents to fund operations into the first half of 2025.

Photo: William Chou, CEO at Passage Bio

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