bluebird bio Completes Oncology Spin-Off Business, Establishes New Nest
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Ten months after it was first announced, bluebird bio has completed the spin-off of its oncology programs into the new business entity, 2seventy bio, Inc. The new company will begin trading on the Nasdaq this morning under the ticker symbol “TSVT.”
The new company’s assets include idecabtagene vicleucel (ide-cel), the BCMA-directed CAR T-cell therapy co-developed with Bristol Myers Squibb. The cancer treatment generated $67 million in sales during the third quarter, the first full quarter after its launch in the U.S. BMS and 2seventry are conducting studies to explore the drug as an earlier-line treatment for multiple myeloma.
By the end of the year, 2seventy is expected to present data from a Phase I study of bb21217, a BCMA-directed CAR T-cell therapy, in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma patients. The autologous cell therapy comprises the same CAR molecule as ide-cel and a PI3K inhibitor. The company is also applying its experience with ide-cel to design a next-generation T-cell therapy.
As 2seventy looks ahead into the new year, the company anticipates initiating Phase I studies for two therapeutics. The first is SC-DARIC33, a potential treatment for relapsed or refractory pediatric and young adult acute myeloid leukemia. The second asset is bbT369 for patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The new company also has several preclinical assets in development, including a MAGEA4-targeting program that is expected to explore new ways of homing in on an antigen commonly expressed on the surface of cancer cells in solid tumors.
With the spinout complete, bluebird will continue to focus its research on developing gene therapies for severe genetic diseases. Andrew Obenshain, chief executive officer of bluebird bio, said that for over the past 10 years, the company has “set the standard for gene therapy” and has amassed the largest and deepest ex-vivo gene therapy data set in the world.
“As a dedicated severe genetic disease company, we are prepared to unlock the full value of our pipeline through the anticipated launch of three, first-in-class therapies for patients with sickle cell disease, β-thalassemia and cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy, and to realize the potential of gene therapy to transform lives for patents and their families now and in the future,” Obenshain said in a statement.
For bluebird, the spin-off of 2seventy Bio comes about a month after the company submitted a biologics licensing application for betibeglogene autotemcel (beti-cel), a potential gene therapy for patients with β-thalassemia who require regular red blood cell transfusions. If approved, the company said, beti-cel will be the first hematopoietic (blood) stem cell (HSC) ex-vivo gene therapy for patients in the United States.
In addition to the spin-off of 2seventy and its BLA, bluebird bio is also closing out the year to move into its new headquarters. In its third-quarter financial announcement, bluebird announced its new headquarters in Assembly Row in Somerville, Mass. The new space, which the company calls its new nest, is a 61,000 square foot facility that is expected to “reflect modern ways of working.” According to the company, the new space is designed to support a continued hybrid work style and increase engagement between employees. bluebird bio anticipates moving approximately 425 employees to the new facility in the spring of 2022.
“Over the past 18 months, we have transformed the way we work and live as we’ve navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic and re-established ourselves as a company focused on pursuing curative gene therapies for severe genetic disease,” Jason Cole, the chief business officer of bluebird bio, said in a statement. “Savings from our real estate footprint support our focus on increased fiscal discipline and investment in our core programs and pipeline.”
bluebird said the new space is expected to save the company more than $120 million over the next six years.