bluebird bio to split into two companies

Jan. 12, 2021

bluebird Bio, one of biotech’s buzziest companies, has announced plans to spin off its cancer unit into a separate business.  The company, which specializes in gene therapies, said the restructuring plan will allow it to focus on rare diseases.

The move comes as bluebird struggles to bridge the gap between drug development and commercialization.

One of bluebird’s leading drug candidates — a multiple myeloma treatment that’s in development with Bristol-Myers Squibb — ran into a regulatory roadblock last May when the FDA delayed approval by requesting additional information on its manufacturing process. The issue has since been resolved and the agency is expected to render a verdict on the drug candidate by the end of March.

Another one of bluebird’s drugs, Zynteglo, was approved in the EU in 2019. But manufacturing questions have also delayed approval for the treatment in the U.S. 

These issues have made analysts skittish, leading to a selloff of shares and an overall devaluation in share prices of 47 percent over the last year. 

Bluebird did not disclose the financial details of its restructuring plan.

Read the full Wall Street Journal report.