Pharma, R&D

Hammered on a gene therapy setback, Dimension cuts staff and circles the wagons

Dimension Therapeutics is winnowing out 25% of its staff as it concentrates on three gene therapy programs, including one partnered with Bayer that has the potential to generate some badly needed milestone cash.

The biotech says it has enough revenue in hand to operate for another year, adding that it can extend the runway out to the end of 2018, provided it bags about $15 million in cash in its deal with Bayer. Three years ago Dimension inked a $252 million pact with Bayer, with $20 million of that upfront.

Annalisa Jenkins

Counting milestone money in your business plan isn’t likely to generate much confidence among investors, especially after some disappointing results and evidence of liver toxicity for its initial lead gene therapy for hemophilia B in January crushed the biotech’s stock price. DTX101 – which faced more advanced competitors with better data – has now been shoved out of the spotlight.

The biotech’s market cap has now shrunk to $38 million.

The lead program in the clinic now is DTX301 for rare cases of ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency. The biotech is lining up two more programs for INDs, including DTX201 allied with Bayer.

Dimension was one of several gene therapy companies to get started with a technology licensing deal with ReGenX, a spinoff from the University of Pennsylvania which is working with AAV technology developed by scientific founder James Wilson.

“Our key focus is to deliver initial data from our ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial for DTX301 in OTC deficiency, advance two proof-of-concept studies for glycogen storage disease type Ia (GSDIa) and hemophilia A, the latter in collaboration with Bayer, and advance our unique HeLa 2.0 manufacturing platform,” says CEO Annalisa Jenkins. “We believe we can deliver these important objectives in 2017-2018 with our current financial position.”

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