Celularity warns of looming layoffs, spotlights early programs as money runs dry
Celularity has warned “a substantial portion” of its employees that layoffs could be looming in the face of a reprioritization effort. In the same breath, it touted some of its very early next-gen candidates in degenerative diseases and oncology.
“While Celularity is hopeful that there will be no need to substantially reduce its headcount, the notifications were provided in accordance with applicable law and to maintain full transparency with its employees,” the news release reads, in part.
According to SEC filings submitted in November, the reorganization comes as the company is struggling with little cash and assets. As of Sept. 30, 2022, it counted $42.6 million of cash and cash equivalents — which was only enough to get it through the first quarter of 2023. In the same filing, the company raised “substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern” and predicted a need to find new financing.
Although Celularity boasts of a wide pipeline of placental-based therapies, the only commercial ones are biomaterials for wound healing and to replace damaged tissue after surgery. One example is Interfyl, which is derived from a placenta and used in the US to replace or add to damaged tissue in wounds or from trauma or surgery. Celularity has partnered with CH Trading Group in an exclusive territory agreement to distribute these products in more than 100 countries.
The rest of Celularity’s potential is locked up in early trials or even preclinical stage. The company also hopes to apply for an IND this year for another placental-based candidate that helps in the formation of new cartilage.
In degenerative diseases, Celularity says it will reevaluate previous trials for a placental-based cell therapy for Crohn’s disease and will look into its next-generation cell therapies for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.
CYCART-19, an allogeneic placental-derived T cell therapy for cancer, could start a Phase I trial this year as the company works on answering FDA’s concerns on its IND. In 2021, it partnered with Imugene to use CF33-CD19, an oncolytic virus, and combine it with Celularity’s CAR-T cell therapy.
In 2021, Celularity merged with a SPAC named GX Acquisition Corp, which gave the company $138 million to work with. The biotech also drew attention early in the pandemic after it tried to test an NK cell infusion for Covid-19.