Staff Cuts Continue in New Year as Intellia and Aera Refine Strategic Priorities
January 5, 2024
Rare Daily Staff
Gene editing biotech Intellia Therapeutics and genetic medicines startup Aera Therapeutics have started the new year by cutting their staffs following a strategic review of their businesses.
These cuts come after 70 rare disease therapeutics drug developers either downsized or closed their companies during 2023, according to data from Global Genes.
Intellia is the first rare disease focused company in 2024 to report an organizational streamlining to focus resources on key strategic priorities and programs, which will result in pausing exploratory research-stage programs and a workforce reduction of approximately 15 percent. Along with approximately $1 billion in cash, the company expects to extend its cash runway into mid-2026.
Intellia said it will focus on completion of phase 3 study and BLA submission for NTLA-2002, completion of patient enrollment in the pivotal study of NTLA-2001, clinical validation of modular in vivo gene insertion technology, and advancement of earlier-stage pipeline and platform innovations.
Aera Therapeutics laid off a quarter of its staff, which was first reported by STAT News. The company launched in February 2023 with $193 million to harness its proprietary delivery platform to unlock the potential of genetic medicines across a wide range of modalities and therapeutic areas.
Aera’s proprietary protein nanoparticle (PNP) genetic medicine delivery platform is based on research conducted in the laboratory of scientific founder Feng Zhang, core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, McGovern Institute investigator, the James and Patricia Poitras Professor of Neuroscience at MIT and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The platform leverages the discovery of endogenous, human proteins derived from retroelements that can self-assemble to form capsid-like structures that can package and transfer nucleic acid cargo, combining the benefits of an endogenous, self-assembling system with the engineerability of a protein-based system and so has the potential to enable the delivery of various genetic medicine modalities.
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