Goldfinch Bio falls from the sky after failing to find a path forward for kidney treatments

Goldfinch Bio, a 2020 Fierce Biotech Fierce 15 winner, is shutting down.

CEO Tony Johnson and Chief Financial and Operating Officer Kyle Kuvalanka told Fierce Biotech that the company is closing up shop after failing to secure additional financing. Goldfinch is now in an assignment for the benefit of creditors in Delaware court, an alternative to bankruptcy. 

"Unfortunately, we had funding challenges, just like I think the rest of the environment, particularly private companies, in the current macro environment," said Johnson. The two executives said the company had reduced its workforce over the course of 2022 while winding down and has been operating with a small staff. 

The decision comes just under a year after the company released lukewarm phase 2 data for lead asset GFB-887. The study found that the med’s ability to reduce proteinuria compared to placebo was best seen in patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a rare kidney disease marked by blood vessel scarring in the glomerulus. But it was not effective in diabetic nephropathy, a more common condition. The clinical trial record says that the study was terminated in November 2022 due to business reasons. 

The company raised a hefty amount of money on the path toward these results, including a $100 million series B in June 2020. A year earlier, the company penned a licensing deal with Gilead worth up to $2 billion in biobucks, including a $55 million upfront payment and $54 million to support the company’s platform to develop treatments for diabetic kidney disease. The deal did not specify exactly how many targets Goldfinch was tasked to identify, but the biobucks applied to the “first five collaboration programs.” 

The company’s decline has been harsh and swift, a microcosm of the larger biotech market that has yet to turn a corner. Goldfinch was launched by Third Rock Ventures in 2016 armed with $55 million to build out its kidney treatment ambitions. Johnson's leadership helped Goldfinch earn Big Pharma recognition as the biotech fleshed outs its Kidney Genome Atlas, a database of patient data that served as the foundation for the company’s target identification efforts. 

In addition to GFB-887, Goldfinch was working on GFB-024, a second clinical-stage asset for severe insulin-resistant diabetic nephropathy. According to the clinical trial record, the trial was completed in March 2022, however, the study status jumped from recruiting to completed. Once recruitment is completed, the trial status usually switches to active and no longer recruiting.