Kronos Bio, following promising outcomes in an initial evaluation of a phase 1/2 trial for a solid tumor therapy, has embarked on a strategic restructuring initiative. This comprehensive plan encompasses a reduction in the workforce, resulting in the departure of 19% of employees, all aimed at extending Kronos’ financial sustainability. CEO Dr. Norbert Bischofberger underscores the formidable but indispensable nature of these personnel reductions.
Kronos has also released its initial findings from the dose-escalation phase of the phase 1/2 trial for KB-0742, which illustrate encouraging anti-tumor effects. These results corroborate earlier preclinical evidence that indicates the therapy’s potential efficacy in addressing challenging sarcomas.
The company expressed its commitment to the development of the cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) inhibitor. This inhibitor has demonstrated promising, on-target, autonomous anti-tumor activity in patients with solid tumors that are transcriptionally reliant, particularly those who have undergone extensive prior treatments. The company has yet to ascertain the maximum tolerable dose, leaving room for the prospect of achieving even more robust anti-tumor effects at higher doses or through alternative dosing schedules as the study unfolds.
The reduction in personnel will lead to an estimated $1.8 million in severance payments for departing employees, as disclosed in a regulatory filing. These expenses are anticipated to be incurred during the fourth quarter, with staff reductions. Moreover, there may be additional costs of up to $300,000 over the next half-year for health insurance reimbursements.
In addition to their focus on KB-0742, Kronos will place a high priority on their collaborative initiatives with Genentech and the advancement of lanraplenib. Lanraplenib is currently undergoing a phase 1b/2 trial for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The strategic streamlining of their operations and the extension of their financial sustainability will enable the company to optimally fund clinical studies for KB-0742 while maintaining their concentration on the clinical development of lanraplenib, the progress of their evolving discovery projects, and their collaborative endeavors with Genentech.
The partnership with Genentech carries paramount significance for Kronos. In January, the two companies initiated two drug discovery programs in the field of oncology, each centered around a transcription factor selected by Genentech. This partnership served as a lifeline for the beleaguered biotech firm, providing an initial payment of $20 million and the potential for substantial milestone payments, which could amount to $177 million for the first program and $100 million for the first licensed product.
Before entering into the Genentech agreement, Kronos had to discontinue an AML candidate due to enrollment challenges in a phase 3 trial. At the time of the Genentech partnership, Kronos had projected that their financial sustainability would extend into the latter half of 2025. With the ongoing restructuring efforts, Kronos foresees an extension of its financial runway until 2026.