Strand Therapeutics has announced an 18% cut to its workforce, just days after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared its Investigational New Drug (IND) application to initiate a first-in-human trial of STX-001 for solid tumours.
On LinkedIn the company said: “This week, Strand has made the difficult strategic decision to reduce our workforce by approximately 18% in order to continue investing into our breakthrough discovery programmes and efficiently progress our first clinical trial. With heavy hearts, we will be saying goodbye to colleagues we value deeply. We are so grateful for all the heart they brought to our team.”
Strand is developing the first platform for creating programmable, long-acting mRNA therapeutics capable of delivering precise, multi-functional, potentially curative treatments. It was founded by biological engineers Jake Becraft, Profesor Darrell J Irvine and Professor Ron Weiss who met at MIT.
The company’s lead candidate STX-001 is a multi-mechanistic synthetic self-replicating mRNA technology that expresses an IL-12 cytokine for an extended period of time, directly into the tumour microenvironment. It induces immunogenic cancer cell death and promotes recruitment of T cells and NK cells to the tumour microenvironment, as well as their activation.
Following the FDA clearance, Jake Becraft, CEO & Co-Founder of Strand, said: “STX-001 has the potential to become the first programmable mRNA therapy in oncology. We’re thrilled to receive IND clearance to advance our programme into patients, which represents an important milestone for our company. We’re excited to continue evaluating our programmable mRNA technology across a number of therapeutic areas.”
Data presented at AACR 2023 reported that STX-001 overcomes the limitations of current immunotherapy, and has the potential to radically improve clinical responses to solid tumours.
Strand has five other oncology candidates at the discovery or preclinical development stage.