Down to $27M, Vincerx starts 'pacing investment' in ADC to free up cash for lead cancer candidates

Vincerx Pharma is rethinking its R&D priorities again after seeing its cash reserves dip below $30 million. The biotech is “pacing investment” in an antibody-drug conjugate candidate that survived the company's prior pipeline prioritization, freeing up cash to move its two lead programs through early-phase trials. 

In May, Vincerx told investors it was taking VIP924 through IND-enabling studies with a view to filing to test the anti-CXCR5 ADC in humans around the middle of next year. That plan, like many made by biotech companies over the past 18 months, has fallen foul of cash constraints. 

Vincerx is now “pacing investment” in the program to focus resources on its lead programs, VIP236 and VIP943. The decision follows a six-month period in which Vincerx burnt through almost half of the $52.5 million it had at the end of last year. 

The biotech expects its burn rate to slow now that it has finished chemistry, manufacturing and controls activities and decided to focus resources on advancing phase 1 trials for VIP236 and VIP943. Under the new plan, Vincerx expects the $27.4 million it had at the end of June to fund operations into late 2024.  The cash runway forecast is unchanged from the biotech’s previous update in May.

“As we enter the latter half of the year, we are strategically focusing our resources on VIP943 and VIP236, along with exploring potential research and other collaborations that can bolster the advancement of these two lead programs, as well as leverage the strength of our next-generation modular bioconjugation platform,” Vincerx CEO Ahmed Hamdy, M.D., said in a statement. 

Vincerx’s decision to focus on VIP236 and VIP943 will slow the progress of a program with the potential to address the unmet needs of previously treated lymphoma patients. There is little to no expression of CXCR5 in normal tissue but the receptor is found in blood cancers such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma. The expression data led Vincerx to identify CXCR5 as a promising ADC target.