Cancer therapeutics firm OncoMed is halving its labor force in a bid to save cash, after a disastrous two weeks where its two lead candidates fail in Phase II trials, and partner, Bayer Pharma, decided not to exercise the option to license another two clinical candidates. OncoMed stated it would now concentrate its efforts on earlier-stage medical programs, and look for new partners for some of its drug applicants.

The layoffs, announced late yesterday, helps you to save about $60 million over the next two years and keep 64 full time staff, the firm states. OncoMed right now expects to have enough cash to support operations through to the final quarter of 2019, excluding any revenues it may make from existing or new partnerships.   Earlier this particular month the firm said it ended the first one fourth of 2017 with $156. 9 million in money and short-term investments.

“ With this restructuring, we expect to have greater than two years cash to support operations centered on driving our rosmantuzumab, navicixizumab and anti-TIGIT clinical-stage applications to $98 million in potential development milestone obligations while advancing our immuno-oncology discovery-stage portfolio, ” mentioned Paul J. Hastings, OncoMed’ s chairman and TOP DOG, on announcement of the job cuts. “ We intend to also explore partnering opportunities for our Wnt pathway plus immuno-oncology agents to which we have worldwide rights. ”

OncoMed reported just over a week ago that the Phase II PINNACLE study evaluating its anti-Notch2/3 candidate, tarextumab, coupled with chemotherapy, failed to meet both its primary endpoint associated with progression-free survival (PFS), and secondary endpoints. The placebo-controlled study combined tarextumab with etoposide plus either cisplatin or carboplatin chemotherapy
in patients along with previously untreated extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

On announcing the tarextumab trial failing, OncoMed also confirmed that it would stop a Stage Ib study evaluating its Notch1-targeting anticancer stem cellular candidate, brontictuzumab, combined with Luonsurf® as third line treatment in colorectal cancer patients, because the combined treatment couldn’ t be tolerated in that patient population.  

A week earlier, OncoMed reported that the Phase II YOSEMITE trial evaluating the anti-DLL4 candidate, demcizumab in conjunction with chemotherapy, also failed to meet both its primary PFS endpoint, and secondary overall survival endpoint. The study mixed demcizumab with Abraxane® and gemcitabine in previously without treatment patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.   OncoMed continues to be developing demcizumab in partnership with Celgene, as part of the firms’ potentially multi-billion dollar collaboration to develop up to six anti-cancer stem cellular candidates. T he firm said it had been now waiting to complete and analyze data from the Stage II DENALI study, which is also due to report during the very first half of this year. DENALI is evaluating demcizumab in combination with radiation treatment in patients with Stage IV non-squamous non-small cellular lung cancer.