century therapeutics is closing its Seattle offices as part of a 25 percent reduction in headcount and a realignment of its priorities.
The Philadelphia-based biotech startup started an innovation center in Seattle in March 2020 and knocked on the company’s president of research and development, Hyam Levitskyto lead it. Levitsky now plans to retire from the company on January 31.
GeekWire reached out to Century Therapeutics to learn more about the layoffs and will update the post when we receive feedback.
The company employed 170 full-time and 18 part-time workers in one year Application for approval March 2022. About 20 people in Seattle list Century Therapeutics as their newest employer on LinkedIn.
Century also closes a location in Hamilton, Ontario and consolidates operations in Philadelphia.
The layoffs are part of a series of recent downsizing at tech companies, including 119 biotech companies in 2022, according to Fierce Biotech. In Washington State Absci, Zymeworks, TwinStrand Biosciences, NanoString Technologies, neoleukin therapeutics and Sana Biotechnology all laid off employees in 2022.
Century began developing induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived adult-derived therapies in 2019 and collected $242.7 million in an IPO two years later. Along with the layoffs, the company is prioritizing a glioblastoma program and a blood cancer research program.
“As our confidence in the disruptive potential of our technology platform and our prioritized pipeline programs continues to grow, we have implemented these cost savings measures to scale the organization and continue to expand our cash runway to enable the achievement of key milestones,” said CEO Lalo Flores in an explanation. The cuts allow the company to extend its cash runway into 2026.
The Company will continue its ongoing partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), which operates cell therapy in the Seattle area. The companies announced a $150 million deal in January 2022, under which BMS will develop and commercialize up to four of Century’s cancer therapy programs.
“I am pleased to have been a part of the Century team during its formative years and am immensely proud of the strides the company has made, which positions it well for future success,” Levitsky said in a statement. Levitsky was formerly executive vice president of research and chief scientific officer at Seattle-based Juno Therapeutics, which was acquired by Celgene in 2018 for $9 billion.
“I leave Century with continued confidence in the vision for next-generation iPSC-based cell therapies,” added Levitsky.
Century is recruiting patients for its first clinical trial involving natural killer cell therapy for B-cell lymphoma. The company is also developing a follow-up product candidate in lymphoma; another therapy for solid tumors that express the marker nectin-4; and therapies for acute myeloma and multiple myeloma in collaboration with BMS.
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