Sangamo narrows pipeline, lays off workers

April 27, 2023

Sangamo Therapeutics has announced a strategic pipeline prioritization and corporate restructuring, including a workforce reduction of approximately 27%.

In its first quarter financial earnings release, the California-based genomic medicine company said it will step away from certain pre-clinical assets, shrink its infrastructure and "redeploy investments towards realizing the full potential of what we believe are our most valuable programs." 

"Today’s environment necessitates careful choices when deciding how many programs to take forward at once. We are therefore announcing a sharpened strategic focus, prioritizing our investments in our most promising programs," said Sandy Macrae, Sangamo CEO.

Back in March, both Novartis and Biogen walked away from separate neurodegenerative deals with Sangamo, leaving the  company scrambling to assess its options.

The Novartis deal, inked back in July 2020, had focused on leveraging Sangamo’s propriety genome regulation technology, zinc finger protein transcription factors, against three neurodevelopmental targets, including autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Novartis paid Sangamo a $75 million upfront and Sangamo was eligible for up to $720 million in milestones. The Biogen deal, signed in February 2020, involved an upfront payment of $350 million with Sangamo eligible to receive up to $2.37 billion in potential milestones related to the development of gene regulation therapies for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, neuromuscular and other neurological diseases.

Now, Sangamo has regrouped and plans to focus on three key areas: Nav 1.7 and Prion as cornerstones to the neurology epigenetic regulation portfolio; Fabry phase 3 readiness; and the TX200 CAR-Treg clinical study.

The U.S. workforce cuts — which will chop approximately 120 roles — will come from a reduction in internal manufacturing and allogeneic research footprints in California. 

The restructuring plus other planned cost reduction initiatives are expected to result in annualized savings of approximately $31 million, which Sangamo hopes will be sufficient to keep the lights on for at least the next 12 months.