Biopharmaceutical company 2seventy bio Inc. is laying off 176 employees, which amounts to approximately 40% of its total workforce.
This significant reduction in staff comes as the company also announced that its CEO, Nick Leschly, who has been in the role since 2seventy split off from bluebird bio Inc. in 2021, will be stepping down. Leschly’s departure is framed as voluntary, with the company stating that he intends to step down as CEO upon the board’s identification of his successor.
He will assume the role of chairman of 2seventy’s board when he vacates the CEO position.
2seventy bio and bluebird bio were previously a single company, with Leschly serving as CEO since 2010. The split in November 2021 resulted in two separate entities: bluebird focusing on gene therapy, and 2seventy on cancer. Notably, 2seventy retained the company’s only approved product, Abecma, a CAR-T therapy developed in collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb Company.
The layoffs and CEO transition come as 2seventy bio faces financial challenges. The company reported a $42.1 million loss in the last quarter, despite earlier expectations that Abecma would become profitable in the same period. The decreasing demand for Abecma, partly due to competition from Janssen’s Carvykti, has contributed to the financial difficulties.
Despite these challenges, 2seventy bio is actively working on expanding Abecma’s approved uses to include other cancer types, such as pediatric acute myeloid leukemia, B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and ovarian cancer. However, a clinical trial for pediatric leukemia is currently on hold after a patient died in June, leading the company to investigate the cause and propose changes to the study.
2seventy bio is laying off nearly 40% of its workforce, or 176 employees, and its CEO, Nick Leschly, is stepping down. The company is facing financial challenges despite expectations of profitability, with declining demand for its only approved product, Abecma. The CEO transition is framed as voluntary, with Leschly set to become chairman of 2seventy’s board.