Olema Oncology to cut 25% of staff, says it will focus on late-stage pipeline
Olema Oncology will let go of a quarter of its workforce, as well as two top executives, as the biotech works to keep alive work on an experimental breast cancer drug that has so far been a disappointment.
The cuts will affect workers in R&D and corporate functions, the company said in a press release Thursday. Also out are CBO Kinney Horn and Cyrus Harmon, a co-founder of the company and its chief research officer. Harmon will stay as a member of the board. The company had 83 full-time employees as of Jan. 31, according to a financial filing.
CEO Sean Bohen has led the company since he left the top medical spot at AstraZeneca. The job cuts will let the company focus resources on OP-1250, the breast cancer drug that has worked — and struggled with — to move forward for years.
“Given the challenging equity market environment, we made some difficult decisions regarding our organization and earlier-stage programs,” Bohen said in the press release.
The company is worth a fraction of its value from when it IPOed in 2020, and the shares were trading around $50 a share. In November 2021, it announced results from its Phase I/II trial of OP-1250 that greatly disappointed investors because of the low response rate in advanced ER+/HER2- breast cancer. The stock plunged and has never recovered, and now trades around $4 a share.
The San Francisco-based biotech says it has enough cash to last into 2025. It reported $204.4 million in cash, equivalents and marketable securities as of the end of last year and a net loss of $104.8 million.
It plans to start a Phase III trial of OP-1250, an estrogen receptor antagonist, in the second half of the year, as a second- and third-line treatment for metastatic breast cancer. And it has Phase II trials that it expects will report out this year, both as a monotherapy and in combination with Pfizer’s Ibrance.