Irish-led Synlogic to cease operations after ending drug trial

  • February 12, 2024

The company is cutting 90pc of its workforce after an internal review found that its PKU trial was ‘unlikely to meet its primary endpoint’.

Synlogic, a biopharma company focused on finding treatments for serious diseases, is cutting almost all of its workforce after stopping one of its key drug trials.

The company – led by Irish woman Dr Aoife Brennan – was engaged in a study for a potential treatment for phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare inherited disorder.

This disorder causes the amino acid phenylalanine to build up in the blood and brain, which can lead to serious issues such as brain damage if it is not treated. Synlogic’s Sympheny-3 study was investigating a potential treatment for PKU, but an internal review found that the trial was “unlikely to meet its primary endpoint”.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share this news, and our resulting decision to end Synpheny-3,” said Brennan, Synlogic’s president and CEO. “We express our deep gratitude for the support and partnership we have received from the PKU community, including the clinical trial site investigators and staff.”

Following this decision, Synlogic also said it will cease operations and reduce its workforce by more than 90pc as it conducts an “assessment of strategic options to enhance shareholder value”. The UK-based company said it is only retaining certain employees to assist in the strategic review and the discontinuation of the PKU study.

As part of the workforce reduction, Brennan is departing from her roles within the company and is stepping down from Synlogic’s board of directors.

“We all took on a big challenge – to develop a new treatment modality – and to do something nobody had done before,” Brennan said on a LinkedIn post. “We built a team of passionate and hard-working pioneers who were energizing to be around. We found our ‘why’ in the patients and families impacted by rare metabolic diseases.

“Ultimately, every technology must be tested in a phase 3 trial in patients living in the real world and, despite our hard work, our innovation came up short.”

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