Locanabio seeks new homes for genetic medicines as it winds down operations

Locanabio will close up shop by the end of the year as a tough market for biotechs claims another company that had been working on developing RNA medicines for rare diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

CEO Jim Burns, Ph.D., confirmed the news to Fierce Biotech on Thursday after a LinkedIn post revealed the closure. Burns said Locanabio is looking at strategic alternatives for its existing programs and technology.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the difficult decision to discontinue Locanabio’s company operations by the end of 2023,” Burns wrote on LinkedIn. “While we continue to believe in the potential of our RNA-targeted gene therapy platform to deliver transformative therapies, the decision was made due to the time and capital required to deliver clinical data in the current challenging funding environment.”

The company will soon share a résumé book of employees to help departing staff find new opportunities, Burns wrote. Locanabio is listed on LinkedIn as having between 51 and 200 employees. 

Locanabio launched in 2016, garnering a $55 million series A in January 2019 to develop gene therapies that target RNA. Burns took over as CEO in December 2019, replacing Jeffrey M. Ostrove, Ph.D.

The biotech had a total of five programs targeting the neuromuscular conditions DMD and myotonic dystrophy type 1 along with the neurodegeneration diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. The furthest along was a DMD program targeting dystrophin exon 51. On this program, Locanabio was working through investigational new drug application-enabling studies.