Surface Oncology reins back its lead program after tracking low-dose toxicity for CD47 drug

Surface Oncology’s lead drug — an anti-CD47 antibody — has run into some heavy turbulence, and the Cambridge, MA-based biotech is buckling up for a rough ride.

After the market closed Tuesday the company $SURF put out word that SRF231’s early-stage human study was being curtailed.

During the dose escalation portion of the phase 1, two hematologic dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were seen at a lower dose (12 mg/kg) than anticipated and resolved without long-term toxicity. Surface will explore additional dose administration schedules but will not open expansion cohorts in the phase 1 study.

Translation: The program is in trouble. The drug “does not meet our standard for pursuing additional clinical expansions at this time,” said Rob Ross, chief medical officer of Surface Oncology. “In the coming months we will focus on identifying a potential dose and schedule, while exploring key insights about SRF231.”

It doesn’t help that CD47 has attracted a slew of rivals, raising the bar on success.

Surface shares cratered over the course of Wednesday, dropping by almost half.

The plan now is to cut back investment in the program as they continue to assess its potential — or lack of it — while saving cash as they tee up 2 new INDs in 2019.

The biotech’s shares dropped 16% on the setback.

Surface indicated that they should have about $160 million in cash and negotiable on hand at the end of the year.

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VP Oncology Biology
Skyhawk Therapeutics Waltham, MA
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