CAR-T-focused Sana tight-lipped on how many staff are affected by latest round of layoffs

Sana Biotechnology isn't revealing exactly how many employees have been affected by its latest round of layoffs, only confirming that the CAR-T-focused company has sought further “operational efficiencies.”

While the Seattle-based biotech has not “undergone a broad restructuring at this time,” it did recently find efficiencies “within a single area of research,” a spokesperson told Fierce Biotech.

“From time to time, we decide to invest more or less in certain capabilities,” they added. “We can often find other positions for people within the company when a job is eliminated, but it is not always possible.”

It marks the second round of layoffs in less than a year. The company let go of 15% of staff in November 2022 and discontinued development of a program investigating the use of heart cells to treat heart failure. Sana said at the time it would also stage-gate certain investments in its other platforms based on how the assets perform in the clinic.

Sana said back in the fall that it expected the changes would give the company a cash runway to invest in key clinical programs over “the next several years.”

Meanwhile, Sana’s CD19-directed allogeneic CAR-T, dubbed SC291, has made it into a phase 1 trial in B-cell malignancies, with an initial readout expected later this year. The biotech is also hoping to get FDA permission this year to launch another allogeneic CAR-T and an autologous CAR-T into human trials, followed by a stem-cell-derived islet cell therapy for Type 1 diabetes in 2024.

The company ended June with $325.9 million to hand in cash and equivalents. Despite being a drop of over $100 million on the funds Sana entered the year with, the biotech said last month it still expects to be able to finance its activities into 2025.

Editor's note: This story was updated to make it clear that Sana's CD22-targeted CAR-T is still in development and has not been removed from the pipeline. The name of the asset has changed from SC263 to SC262. Previous copy suggesting the asset has left the pipeline has been removed.