An MIT spinout kills one of its ‘living therapeutics’ after flunking an early-stage study — shares routed
Just a few weeks after bagging $80 million in a deal to collaborate with Gingko Bioworks on its special blend of engineered bacteria used for “living therapeutics,” little Synlogic in Boston $SYBX is tossing one of its two clinical programs after watching an early-stage study go down in defeat.
Their Phase Ib/IIa study for SYNB1020 to counter the accumulation of ammonia in the body, a condition called hyperammonemia or urea cycle disorder, floundered at the interim readout, forcing the biotech to kill it and reserve its cash for pipeline therapies with greater potential.
Investors, though, weren’t happy to see the clinical proof-of-concept test of its technology go down in flames, and they drove down the stock by 23% in the rout that followed Tuesday morning.
The tech comes out of the labs of Tim Lu and Jim Collins at MIT, where they were working on high-profile synthetic biology projects. Lu formed Senti early last year to pursue his work in the field.
Next up is proof of concept data for SYB1618, in Phase I testing for a genetic form of phenylketonuria that triggers a buildup of the amino acid phenylalanine.
“We are disappointed that results from our Phase 1b/2a study of SYNB1020 did not demonstrate an activity profile in ammonia lowering that warranted continued development of the program. We would like to thank the patients and investigators who participated in the clinical trial and contributed to this research,” said CEO Aoife Brennan in a statement.
Brennan had been the CMO working with CEO Jose-Carlos Gutiérrez-Ramos before he exited the company a little more than a year ago.