San Francisco cell therapy player lays off 94 staffers as it awaits data on lead candidate
PACT Pharma, a well-connected cell therapy developer out of South San Francisco, is laying off 94 employees, according to a WARN notice filed in California.
Among those heading out are president and COO Tim Moore (who had jumped from Kite three years ago), 14 scientists, 12 director-level positions, seven engineers, a half-dozen vice presidents and two senior directors, the San Francisco Business Times reported. The company will have 40 remaining employees to carry on the work on T cell therapies for cancer, according to the paper.
Co-founded by such prominent names as David Baltimore, Jim Heath, Antoni Ribas, Terry Rosen and Juan Jaen, PACT got its name from the products it aims to create: Personalized Adoptive Cell Therapy.
The goal, simply put, is to identify patient-specific neoantigen targets and the specific group of T cells driving an immune response — then unleash a whole “tsunami” of T cells engineered to attack the cancer.
Specifically, PACT employs a non-viral gene editing process, one that it is coupling with other “complex modifications.”
The biotech is conducting a Phase I study of NeoTCR-P1, its lead candidate, against a basket of solid tumors, with or without a PD-1 inhibitor. While original trial plans called for the enrollment of 148 patients, PACT stopped recruiting new patients in February, according to a listing on clinicaltrials.gov, although the trial is still active.
Over the years PACT has raised $266 million across three rounds, with the latest $75 million closing in early 2020.
PACT did not respond to a request for comment by press time. FierceBiotech first reported on the WARN notice.