Hop­ing to brake a slow crash, Aduro's Stephen Isaacs hits the re­set but­ton, ax­ing staff in re­or­ga­ni­za­tion

With in­vestor con­fi­dence steadi­ly bleed­ing out over the last year, Aduro $ADRO CEO Stephen Isaacs has hit the re­set but­ton in an at­tempt to get back on track. 

The biotech said this morn­ing that it is whack­ing 37% of the staff and cir­cling its wag­ons around lead pro­grams part­nered with 2 promi­nent big phar­mas — No­var­tis and Eli Lil­ly — fo­cused on STING. The biotech is al­so pur­su­ing an in-house an­ti-APRIL an­ti­body, in de­vel­op­ment in on­col­o­gy and IgA nephropa­thy.

How many staffers is that? We don’t know ex­act­ly, but when Aduro filed its 10-K for 2017 it had 162 full-time em­ploy­ees.

In­ter­est­ed in pick­ing up some shelved as­sets cheap? You should call Isaacs, who had this to say about the pro­grams be­ing pushed aside in the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion:

The strate­gic re­set will al­so al­low us to ex­plore new part­ner­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties for our de­pri­or­i­tized pro­grams, in­clud­ing pLADD, ADU-1604 (an­ti-CT­LA-4) and ADU-1805 (an­ti-SIR­Pα). While this was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion, I want to thank the em­ploy­ees who are leav­ing for their con­tri­bu­tions to Aduro.

Aduro biotech has seen its mar­ket cap shrink to less than its cash re­serves on a drum­beat of set­backs. 

The end­ed 2018 with $278 mil­lion in re­serves, then added a $12 mil­lion up­front in Jan­u­ary from Eli Lil­ly for their deal. The mar­ket cap, mean­while, was un­der $200 mil­lion be­fore the mar­ket open.

Aduro went pub­lic close to 4 years ago at $17 a share, tout­ing a pair of can­cer vac­cines and an on­col­o­gy pipeline, then saw the stock price to $40 soon af­ter. Af­ter that, things got rough — but very slow­ly.

A warmed up can­cer vac­cine — GVAX, one of the ini­tial wave — was a bust. Late in 2017 their oth­er can­cer vac­cine CRS-207, reengi­neered Lis­te­ria mono­cy­to­genes, hit the wall af­ter a long and trou­bled de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, forc­ing Isaacs to wash his hands of the ef­fort. 

Then J&J backed out of a promi­nent al­liance last fall. And Mer­ck didn’t make any­thing bet­ter when it ac­knowl­edged at ES­MO that its own STING ther­a­py didn’t ac­tu­al­ly work on its own.

Yes­ter­day Aduro’s stock closed at $2.47.


Im­age: Stephen Isaacs. BERKE­LEY via YOUTUBE

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AJ Patel was recovering from a complicated brain surgery when his oncologist burst into the hospital room yelling, “I’ve got some really great news for you!”

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“What are you talking about?” Patel asked. He had never seen an oncologist so happy.

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Michael Corbo, Pfizer CDO of inflammation & immunology

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An NYU surgeon transplants an engineered pig kidney into the outside of a brain-dead patient (Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health)

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Vlad Coric, Biohaven CEO

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Anthony Fauci (AP Images)

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Mihael Polymeropoulos, Vanda Pharmaceuticals CEO

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Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO (Charles Krupa/AP Images)

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Mod­er­na seeks to dis­miss Al­ny­lam suit over Covid-19 vac­cine com­po­nent, claim­ing wrong venue

RNAi therapeutics juggernaut Alnylam Pharmaceuticals made a splash in March when it sued and sought money from both Pfizer and Moderna regarding their use of Alnylam’s biodegradable lipids, which Alnylam claims have been integral to the way both companies’ mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines work.

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(Credit: Shutterstock)

Cracks in the fa­cade: Is phar­ma's pan­dem­ic ‘feel good fac­tor’ wan­ing?

The discordant effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on pharma reputation continues. While the overall industry still retains a respectable halo from its Covid-19 quick response and leadership, a new patient group study reveals a different story emerging in the details.

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