Allozyne, Inc. Conducts Round of Employee "Furloughs"  
3/15/2013 12:17:09 PM

Seattle-based Allozyne, one of the promising biotech drug developers to graduate from the venture-backed Accelerator, recently conducted a small round of employee furloughs. Allozyne made the latest round of reductions to its payroll a little more than a year after another round of job cuts that I reported here in January 2012. CEO Meenu Chhabra Karson said by e-mail, “We did not lay off anyone recently,” but declined to answer further questions. Three other sources close to the situation said staff reductions were made recently at Allozyne and described internally not as “layoffs” but as “furloughs,” which suggests the people affected may be called back. On the company Web page, Chhabra Karson and Ken Grabstein, the chief scientific officer, are the only members still listed as part of its management team. Allozyne got off to an auspicious start in 2005, with backing from Accelerator and technology licensed from Caltech to engineer desirable properties into targeted protein-based drugs. The company had more than 20 employees at one point, and spent about $50 million of investment capital in its first five years in business, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in October 2011. But Allozyne ran into difficulty when a reverse merger deal fell apart in December of that year with Poniard Pharmaceuticals, which would have turned Allozyne into a public company. Regulatory filings from 2011 showed Allozyne got down to as little as $1.1 million of cash left in the bank while it was working on the Poniard merger. The company raised another $4 million of debt and warrant offerings between February and June of last year, according to more recent regulatory filings.