Sweden’s BioInvent is streamlining its R&D focus and will make further job cuts, taking its workforce down to just about half that of a year ago. The firm says the moves, designed to reduce the firm's expenses to about SEK 75 million (about $11 million) next year, are needed to make the business financially self-sufficient before new clinical trials are undertaken. BioInvent announced it would be restructuring back in the summer, after its Thrombogenics-partnered antithrombotic antibody candidate TB-402 failed in Phase II clinical trials and was subsequently dropped. At the time the firm said 21 jobs would be lost to save SEK 15 million (roughly $2.3 million) a year. In this further downsizing move another 20 jobs will go, taking the number of full-time employees down to 48, 39 of who will be involve in R&D.
With respect to its continuing operations BioInvent says it will concentrate on the discovery and development of new anticancer antibodies using its flagship n-CoDeR® library platform, and hopes to establish new antibody drug partnerships, together with continuing existing collaborations that will generate milestone revenues as relevant products progress through the clinic. BioInvent currently has five agreements in place for the development of products based on its antibody library.
The firm says it also intends to partner its own programs at an early stage, and expects at least two product candidates from existing partnerships to start in the clinic next year. “We are moving from being active in a number of medical areas to focusing primarily on cancer, such as BI-505, currently in clinical Phase I for the treatment of multiple myeloma, and on two new drug candidates for which preclinical development is expected to start with toxicology studies during summer next year,” explains Svein Mathisen, president and CEO.
Lead in-house candidate BI-505 is a fully human n-CoDeR-derived antibody targeting the adhesion protein ICAm-1 (CD54). BioInvent’s pipeline also includes the early clinical-stage anticancer candidate TB-403, which is partnered with Thrombogenics, and an early clinical-stage atherosclerosis candidate BI-204, North American rights to which have been licensed to Genentech.
BioInvent and ThromboGenics say they intend to further evaluate the potential of TB-403 in certain cancer and noncancer indications, including ophthalmology. The candidate was licensed to Roche back in 2008, but the firm passed the antibody back to BioInvent and Thrombogenics in June this year, citing what it called a change in resource prioritization.
BI-204, meanwhile, is a human antibody targeting the oxidized form of low-density lipoprotein. However, it’s future now hangs in the balance, following the release in July of data from a Phase II study in patients with stable atherosclerotic vascular disease, which failed to meet its primary endpoint.