GlobeImmune draws the curtain as Gilead kills drug deal, CEO role abandoned

In just a few short bullet points GlobeImmune has listed what looks to be its end game as it looks to fade away from public scrutiny. 

The list makes for depressing reading. First up Gilead, which has been suffering from its own setbacks of late, “has terminated the collaboration and license agreement with the company and its rights to GS-4774,” according to its brief, but miserable, update.

The writing has been on the wall for some time as the drug, which is designed to galvanize the body’s T cells to rear up and fight hep B infection, failed a midstage test last year when it didn’t hit its primary endpoints, slashing the tiny biotech’s share price in half and seeing many of its staffers kicked out to save cash.

Gilead is no stranger to killing off development projects that haven’t panned out, and just a few weeks back it told U.K. partner Abenza that it would be no longer working on simtuzumab, an investigational injected antibody directed against lysyl oxidase-like-2, after it posted mixed results in NASH.

GlobeImmune now has the rights back to GS-4774–but gave no update as to what, if any, further development will be made with the med.

And there’s more. Timothy Rodell has also resigned his positions as both the biotech’s CEO and president, but remains on the board.

C. Jeffrey Dekker becomes president, secretary and treasurer (but not CEO, which appears to remain an unfilled role), while also taking on a board position.

There were some free seats, as J. William Freytag, Augustine J. Lawlor, Dan J. Mitchell and S. Edward Torres have all resigned theirs.

Where they will all be based however is uncertain as the biotech said it has also terminated the lease for 40,000 gross square feet of office, laboratory and manufacturing space which had been its corporate HQ in Louisville, Colorado.

GlobeImmune’s pipeline does have preclinical treatments for tuberculosis, HIV and delta virus, plus a handful of mid-stage oncology treatments partnered with Celgene from a 2009 deal, with a new deal struck in August that saw Celgene in-license GI-6207, a Phase II treatment for thyroid cancer, for $1.9 million up front and the promise of regulatory and sales milestones down the road.

In its last update in May, the biotech said the results from a GI-6207 Phase II trial in patients with medullary thyroid cancer were “projected to be available in the second half of 2016.”

A midstage test designed to investigate the safety and efficacy of evaluating GI-6301 in combo with radiation therapy in patients with chordoma was in the summer still enroling patients.

In its Q1 results, also announced in May, GlobeImmune said it had cash and equivalents of just $8.7 million, but believed it was enough to “operate the company as a going concern through the middle of 2017 as it continues to evaluate strategic alternatives.”

It had said however that, should a strategic alternative not be found, “we could decide to wind down the operations of the company which will consume cash faster than currently planned as a going concern.”

The future of its R&D projects are unclear, and we will likely not know about anything else coming from the company given that, after de-listing from the Nasdaq in the summer, it doesn’t have to report to the SEC, and said explicitly that it “does not plan to publicly release any further information about its operations or business.”