Drug Development

Protocols: Troubled Telesta axes staff in wake of FDA rejection; Evelo partners with Mayo researchers

Less than a year after striking a $137 million deal for the rights to Telesta’s bladder cancer drug MCNA, Ipsen has decided to punt the therapy, forcing deep cuts at the Montreal-based biotech. Telesta says that it is shrinking its work force to 15, down from 50 at the end of March. It’s also selling off its manufacturing facilities. The FDA rejected MCNA back in February, saying the biotech would need to do a new Phase III before it could get an approval. Telesta, though, says it won’t spend any new funds on the program.

Cambridge, MA-based Evelo Biosciences has struck a development pact with the Mayo Clinic on new cancer-related microbiome work. They will work together to “isolate and characterize cancer-associated bacteria from patient stool samples and tumor biopsies.” “Understanding how certain cancer-associated bacteria disrupt tumors is an important step toward developing new medicines for cancer,” said Dr. Brian Goodman, Evelo’s Head of Scientific Strategy.

The CRO Medpace outlined plans to raise about $150 million by selling 7 million shares for $20 to $23 each.

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