In Tough Market, CODA Quietly Shuts Doors


Pictured: Hands together as the company closes business, Courtesy of Getty Images

As life science companies feel the burn of the current economy, one Bay Area biotech, CODA Biotherapeutics, quietly shut its doors.

Google shows the company as “permanently closed," and representatives from Versant Ventures and MPM Capital, who co-launched the company in 2018, confirmed in an e-mail to BioSpace that CODA has ceased operations.

The company's website still exists but it appears the top execs started jumping ship as early as last fall.

According to her LinkedIn profile, the first to go was SVP of gene therapy, Annahita Keravala. 

In October 2022, Keravala moved up the ladder to CSO at Genescence Corporation. CODA’s SVP of drug discovery, Steve Dodson, started at Aeovian Pharmaceuticals in November 2022.

Susan Catalano left her CEO role at Cognition Therapeutics after 14 years last March to take on the CSO role at CODA. On March 7, Catalano was tapped as the CSO of Capsida Biotherapeutics. 

CODA has been working on a novel chemogenetic gene therapy platform to treat intractable neurological diseases. Its initial targets focused on focal epilepsy and chronic neuropathic pain.

While the reason for CODA’s shuttering has not been disclosed, biopharma is facing an era of slim funding across the board. Companies of all sizes are making cuts to make ends meet.

More than 35 companies have already been added to BioSpace’s Layoff Tracker for 2023.

Cuts first started to accelerate in 2022, as 28 U.S.-headquartered public pharma and biotech companies made official downsizing announcements, according to a report shared with BioSpace from LifeSci Search. That’s more than a 100% increase compared to the 10 announced in 2021.

In addition to staff cuts, companies are making tough financial calls to keep the doors open. In February, Sorrento Therapeutics received interim court approval for a $75 million financing through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The immediate liquidity will keep Sorrento afloat for now.

"These lower quality companies and programs, they're going to be shut down,” Mike Rice, Life Sci Advisors told BioSpace when discussing the "brutal" financing environment.

BioSpace has contacted CODA’s former exec team for comment but has not received a response. 

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