Applied Molecular Transport's co-founder exits along with 40% of staff as early pipeline activity paused

It’s been less two years since Applied Molecular Transport’s IPO, but time has not been kind. The company is slashing 40% of its workforce and a co-founder will exit, while early-stage pipeline activities are put on pause.

This is all in the name of accelerating lead program AMT-101, an oral treatment for chronic pouchitis, into late-stage clinical development.

First, the layoffs: The biopharmaceutical company, which made its public debut with a $154 million IPO in June 2020, will cut 40% of staff, bringing its total full-time workforce to 81 employees.

“Parting with the employees who have brought AMT to such an advanced stage is a difficult decision. We thank our AMT colleagues for their contributions to our progress thus far,” Tahir Mahmood, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of AMT, said in a May 18 release.

Next, the leadership change-ups: AMT co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Randall Mrsny, Ph.D., is leaving after more than a decade with the company, which was incorporated in 2010. No plans were announced to replace Mrsny, with senior management changes said to align with the company’s late-stage focus.

Other leadership changes include CFO Shawn Cross serving as both president and chief operating officer, while Brandon Hants will take over as CFO.

Next, AMT is streamlining resources to key clinical programs such as AMT-101, a potential treatment for chronic pouchitis, the inflammation that can develop after a patient has surgery to treat ulcerative colitis or other diseases. Currently, AMT is prepping for end of phase 2 meetings with the FDA to advance AMT-101 to phase 3 for the condition, which is an orphan indication currently lacking any FDA-approved products.

“Given the recent positive AMT-101 phase 2 results in chronic pouchitis, and its broad potential in additional indications, we have taken these strategic actions to prioritize our cash resources to support late-stage clinical advancement, including an anticipated phase 3 trial in chronic pouchitis, as well as the ongoing phase 2 trials in ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis,” said Mahmood. “We also continue to explore partnership opportunities for our earlier-stage programs and technology platform.”

The company is also evaluating next steps for AMT-126, an IL-22 agonist being investigated for defects in the intestinal epithelial barrier. The treatment recently demonstrated safety in a phase 1a trial in healthy volunteers. In the meantime, AMT is halting other earlier-stage research programs and activities.

The San Francisco, California-based company’s efforts are expected to extend its cash runway into 2024.

To read more about layoffs across the biotech industry, check out Fierce Biotech's Layoff Tracker.