Axcella to axe 85% of staff

Dec. 16, 2022

Massachusetts-based biotech Axcella announced this week that it would be letting go of up to 85% of its staff in an attempt to restructure and “support its streamlined set of priorities.”

In the statement made by the company, CEO Bill Hinshaw explained that the restructuring efforts will help prioritize its long COVID program AXA1125, one of its multi-targeted endogenous metabolic modulator (EMM) compositions. In its phase 2 trial, AXA1125 demonstrated statistically and clinically relevant improvement in fatigue in patients with long COVID, so Axcella remains committed to continuing to advance the program into a potential registration trial. 

AXA1125 is an EMM composition of six amino acids and derivatives with the potential to affect pathways related to metabolism and inflammation. EMMs are a broad set of molecular families that act as regulators and signaling agents through metabolic pathways and can control cells’ and organs’ abilities to produce immune responses, eliminate waste products, sense nutrient availability, and more. Aside from its therapeutic possibilities for long Covid, Axcella has been evaluating the drug candidate for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

As a part of the restructuring, the company will be letting go of its Chief Financial Officer, Bob Crane, and Virginia Dean, Chief People Officer. Axcella also announced that it had reached an agreement with SLR Investment Corp to pay down debt obligations of previous arrangements made.