Selecta Biosciences Halts Pipeline Investments, Focuses on Gout Treatment

Pictured: Selecta CEO Carsten Brunn/courtesy Selecta Biosciences

Pictured: Selecta CEO Carsten Brunn/courtesy Selecta Biosciences

Selecta Biosciences is freezing further investments in its pipeline and will focus company efforts on a candidate treatment for chronic refractory gout, the biotech announced Thursday in its second-quarter financial results.

The Mass.-based company said that it made the strategic decision “to stop or discontinue non-essential activities” in an effort “to preserve capital.” The cost-saving measures focused on “maximizing the value of its pipeline through potential licensing and corporate development activities” are expected to extend Selecta’s cash runway into 2027.

The move comes amid Selecta’s slipping cash flows, and unfavorable position compared to last year. Since January, its cash and cash equivalents have fallen from $136 million to $115 million. Collaboration and license revenue is down to $5.2 million for the second quarter, compared to $39.3 million in 2022. Selecta reported a net loss of $11.4 million this past quarter. Last year, the company reported a net income of $8.6 million over the same period.

In May 2023, as part of its first-quarter financial results, Selecta announced plans to cut about 25% of its workforce in an effort to implement a “capital prioritization initiative.” At the time, the cuts were expected to extend the company’s cash flow to the second half of 2025.

Selecta CEO Carsten Brunn said in Thursday’s second-quarter results that suspending further investment in its pipeline assets would allow the company to avoid “the dilution that would have been required” to support their development over the long term. Instead, the focus will be on SEL-212, Selecta’s clinical-stage candidate for treatment of chronic refractory gout.

Brunn said Selecta remains committed to SEL-212, which he described as a “potentially unique and differentiated once monthly uricase based treatment option” for gout patients that “has the potential to exceed $700 million in peak sales in the U.S.”

The company has been developing the therapy in partnership with Swedish Orphan Biovitrium AB since 2020. Sobi paid $100 million up front and Selecta is still eligible for up to $615 million in regulatory and commercial milestone payments as well as royalties on net sales.

In May 2023, Selecta presented Phase III data from two clinical studies showing that SEL-212 had hit primary efficacy endpoints and also had a “favorable safety profile and was well-tolerated across both doses.”

Selecta will also be pursuing an agreement established this year with Astellas Gene Therapies of Xork, a next-generation immunoglobulin G protease that Selecta hopes will prove an effective treatment for late-onset Pompe disease (LOPD)—when used in concert with Astellas’ AT845, an investigational adeno-associated virus-based treatment.

Connor Lynch is a freelance writer based in Ottawa, Canada. Reach him at lynchjourno@gmail.com.

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