Ziopharm hopes to put a rough year behind it with rebrand to Alaunos Therapeutics

Ziopharm Oncology is hoping to put the wild ride of 2021 behind it with a rebranding to Alaunos Therapeutics.

Before we get into the rebranding, a quick reminder of the trials and tribulations of 2021. Early last year, the biotech ditched its IL-12 clinical program, including a glioblastoma asset, which led to a 15% staff reduction. To offset capital concerns, Ziopharm secured $25 million in venture debt financing. Then, a T-cell receptor was delayed entry into phase 1/2 studies until 2022. 

Then Kevin Boyle joined as CEO in late August and by late September, he was showing half of the company's workforce the exit.  

Now, the biotech's T-cell receptor therapy is finally moving toward the clinic with enrollment open and first patient dosing slated for sometime in the next four months.

RELATED: Ziopharm's new CEO cuts 50% of workforce amid trial delays for T-cell receptor therapy

The cell therapy will be evaluated against 10 different T-cell receptors that target KRAS, TP53 and EGFR mutations in patients with non-small cell lung, colorectal, endometrial, pancreatic, ovarian and bile duct cancers in one trial at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The biotech has also closed its Boston office and is heading south to Houston as part of the reshuffling and rebranding. Also down south is the company's now-qualified TCR manufacturing facility near Texas Medical Center.

The penny stock biotech is worth half of what it was at the time of the layoff news last September, when shares dipped 10% to $1.90 apiece. It's now worth 89 cents per share as of 10:08 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Alaunos will begin its new journey Thursday under the ticker symbol TCRT.