Jim Wilson (WuXi Global Forum at JPM20)

Roiled by se­nior-lev­el ex­its, Jim Wil­son’s Pas­sage Bio re­trench­es, chop­ping back on staff as it ex­tends cash run­way

A lit­tle more than 3 years af­ter Penn’s Jim Wil­son and the late Tachi Ya­ma­da her­ald­ed the launch of their gene ther­a­py up­start Pas­sage Bio with a bevy of mar­quee VCs div­ing in, the biotech is hun­ker­ing down for a re­or­ga­ni­za­tion. And it comes with the ex­it of its R&D chief just days af­ter one of the in­vestors on its board quit af­ter reg­is­ter­ing a sharp dis­agree­ment over their plans.

Pas­sage put out word to­day that it’s chop­ping 13% of its work­force and cir­cling the wag­ons around 3 key pro­grams — for GM1 gan­gliosi­do­sis, Krabbe dis­ease and fron­totem­po­ral de­men­tia — which will give it enough cash on hand to get to Q2 2024. The state­ment didn’t say just how many staffers are be­ing cut, but Pas­sage — close­ly aligned with Wil­son’s Gene Ther­a­py Pro­gram at Penn, which has pro­vid­ed rights to a port­fo­lio of prod­ucts — not­ed in its last 10-K that it had 133 full time em­ploy­ees, in ad­di­tion to in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors.

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