Genocea Biosciences, Solid Biosciences Slash Headcounts in Restructuring Plans


Floundering Genocea Biosciences is exploring strategic alternatives for its future in the wake of disappointing results from its Phase I/IIa Titan study assessing GEN-011 that was presented earlier this month at the American Association for Cancer Research conference earlier this year.

Disappointing results caused the company's stock to plummet, and since then, things have not looked promising for the Cambridge, Mass.-based company. This morning, Genocea announced it was exploring those strategic options that could include the sale of some or all of the company. It could also include a potential merger with a larger company.

Coinciding with its exploration of options, the company terminated 65% of its employees. In its brief announcement, the job cuts will be completed in the second quarter. The company did not indicate where the majority of the cuts will occur or if it will impact any of Genocea's leadership team. 

With the job cuts, Genocea is assessing its clinical and research programs' future to "determine an appropriate course of action." Genocea had two programs in clinical development, GEN-011 and GEN-009. GEN-011 was the company's investigational adoptive T cell therapy comprising neoantigen-targeted peripheral cells, while GEN-009 is an investigational neoantigen vaccine.

In addition to its two clinical programs, the company was assessing preclinical assets with its proprietary Atlas platform. Genocea was attempting to harness its Atlas platform to profile a patient's T cell response to certain targets or antigens based on the individual's tumor. The Atlas platform was designed to "zero in" on both antigens that activate anti-tumor T cell responses and inhibitory antigens that drive pro-tumor immune responses.

Genocea isn't the only company to undertake a new strategic prioritization. Neighboring company Solid Biosciences, which is focused on the development of therapies for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, announced a reorganization of its corporate operations this morning. Along with that new focus includes a 35% reduction in headcount. 

The reorganization will allow the company to prioritize the advancement of its key programs, SGT-001 and SGT-003. Transfection-based manufacturing processes for both assets will allow Solid to focus its operating structure and better leverage external manufacturing expertise. 

In its announcement, Solid Biosciences intends to narrow its research & development activities to the two named programs and next generation capsids. Recent data suggest that SGT-001 holds "meaningful promise as a potential treatment option" for DMD, the company said. Solid also anticipates filing an Investigational New Drug Application for SGT-003 in early 2023. 

The reorganization will result in a reduction in planned corporate expenditures, which is anticipated to extend the funding of operations through important clinical milestones and into the second quarter of 2024. 

Chief Operating Officer Joel Schneider will depart the company for a new opportunity at a novel, viral-based gene therapy platform company. Schneider will take over the CEO role there, Solid Biosciences announced. 

Ilan Ganot, president, chief executive officer and co-founder of Solid Biosciences, said the streamlining of its operations would allow the company to consolidate its resources in order to support the development of SGT-001 and SGT-003 through important clinical milestones.

"I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the team members who were impacted by this reorganization. Each individual has made important contributions toward our mission of improving the lives of patients with Duchenne," Ganot said in a statement. "I would also like to thank Joel for his leadership and service to Solid over the last eight years, and for the instrumental role he played to advance the field of gene therapy for Duchenne towards scientific translation and clinical development, as well as the possibilities it brings to patients worldwide."

Back to news