Avrobio lets go of 50% of workers, halts all development

July 12, 2023

Massachusetts-based gene therapy developer Avrobio is letting go of 50% of its workers and exploring "strategic alternatives" in an attempt to make its cash go further. 

After a few months of hinting at trouble, Avrobio revealed this week in an SEC filing that it would be taking measures to maximize shareholder value, which includes its decision to stop development and seek buyers for the remaining assets. According to Avrobio,  potential strategic alternatives that may include an acquisition, merger, business combination or other transaction. 

In January of last year, the company announced that its Fabry disease program would be deprioritized and that the company would shift focus to other clinical-stage programs in its lysosomal disorder pipeline. Then a few months ago in May, Avrobio sold its investigational hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy program for the treatment of cystinosis to Novartis in an all-cash transaction valued at $87.5 million.

At the time, Avrobio said that it would retain the rest of its portfolio of HSC gene therapies for Gaucher disease type 1 and type 3, Hunter syndrome and Pompe disease and that with the transaction it would have enough cash runway through the fourth quarter of 2024. Now, the company says it will halt further development of all programs while it figures out its next move.