Medical Innovation Exchange

Theratechnologies to phase out preclinical oncology program as it looks for R&D partner

Theratechnologies is winding down its preclinical oncology research program in an effort to turn a profit and focus on its commercial business. The biotech will use what it has learned from the cancer work conducted so far to find an outside R&D collaborator.

The company’s investment in a platform to treat multiple types of cancer by targeting the SORT1+ receptor “has generated important evidence on multiple peptide-drug conjugates with different payloads,” CEO Paul Lévesque said in a March 22 release. “Now that we have significantly advanced our preclinical program, we are well-positioned to leverage this wealth of data and insights to attract an oncology R&D partner.” 

The move will cost the company about $625,000 in severance payouts and other expenses as well as $770,000 in non-cash charges. The release didn’t disclose how many jobs will be affected; Fierce Biotech has reached out for more information. 

The decision does not affect clinical progress for Theratechnologies’ lead oncology asset, a peptide-drug conjugate called sudocetaxel zendusortide. That therapy is currently being tested in a phase 1 trial for advanced ovarian cancer after overcoming an FDA hold over safety concerns. 

Moving forward, Theratechnologies will continue to share findings generated prior to the preclinical wind down. The company plans to present two posters at the upcoming American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in early April, including one with data on new peptide-drug conjugates. 

Theratechnologies has two FDA-approved drugs on the market, both for HIV: An antiretroviral called Trogarzo for patients infected with HIV-1; and a growth hormone-releasing factor called Egrifta, which reduces the build-up of excess visceral abdominal fat that sometimes results from the condition. The company is also exploring the active ingredient of Egrifta, tesamorelin, as a potential treatment for metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis.

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