Theseus Pharma Lays Off Workers, Explores Choices Months After Toxicity Scuttles Lead Drug

Theseus Prescribed drugs, which aimed to beat the resistance that cancers develop to medicine, is shedding most of its employees and exploring options that would result in offers that eke out some worth from the corporate’s remaining belongings.

The announcement after Monday’s market shut come 4 months after early medical information for Theseus’s lead program confirmed dose-limiting toxicities in two out of six sufferers. The discovering led Cambridge, Massachusetts-based to discontinue that program.

Theseus has different packages and money to assist them. As of the tip of the second quarter of this 12 months, Theseus reported its money place was $234 million, which the corporate estimated would final into 2026. On the finish of September, Theseus stated its money place was $225.4 million.

Although Theseus beforehand acknowledged plans to additional develop its pipeline, it has since reconsidered. On Nov. 6, Theseus determined to put off 26 staff, representing about 72% of its employees, the corporate stated in a Monday regulatory filing. The layoffs will result in $5.5 million in severance prices, which the corporate expects shall be incurred within the present quarter.

Amongst these dropping a job is William C. Shakespeare, the biotech’s president of analysis and growth. Theseus stated Shakespeare will proceed in a consultative function till June 30, 2024. The corporate additionally stated it plans to think about “a variety of choices with a concentrate on maximizing shareholder worth.” These strategic alternate options might embody a sale of the corporate, a merger with one other enterprise, or another transaction, Theseus stated.

Theseus’s former lead drug candidate, THE-360, was developed to deal with gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), a kind of intestine most cancers pushed by mutations to the KIT gene that result in mutated types of the KIT kinase. Medication from the category of medicines referred to as tyrosine kinase inhibitors can be found as first- and second-line remedies for GIST, however drug resistance is an ongoing downside. Theseus aimed to beat resistance by creating “pan-variant” tyrosine kinase inhibitors meant to focus on the primary cancer-causing and drug-resistance mutations. THE-360 was designed to handle the assorted mutations of the KIT kinase.

With the discontinuation of THE-360, Theseus shifted focus to THE-349, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor designed to focus on mutated variations of a most cancers protein referred to as EGFR. Developed as a possible remedy for EGFR mutant non-small cell lung most cancers, Theseus acknowledged in its report of second quarter financial results that it deliberate to submit an investigational new drug software for the molecule within the fourth quarter of this 12 months. The corporate additionally indicated it meant to appoint extra drug candidates, together with one other pan-variant KIT inhibitor for GIST.

Theseus was incubated by OrbiMed and revealed its strategy to most cancers in 2021, backed by a $100 million Sequence B financing. Months later, the corporate accomplished its IPO, pricing shares at $16 apiece and elevating $160 million. On Tuesday, shares of Theseus opened at $3.05, up 42.5% from Monday’s closing value.

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