Seattle biotech Allozyne suffers workforce woes

Xconomy's Luke Timmerman has sent a fresh dispatch from the world of cash-strapped biotechs. Allozyne has furloughed some of its employees, he reported, after the Seattle-based developer of targeted protein therapies cut jobs in the aftermath of a failed attempt at going public through a reverse merger in 2011.

Allozyne CEO Meenu Chhabra Karson, a former business development exec at Novartis ($NVS), told Timmerman that the company had not let go any workers. And his sources say that the impacted workers have been furloughed, which isn't good news but at least leaves the possibility of the employees resuming work.

Privately held Allozyne has endured financial hardship like many biotech startups around the globe, yet the company got off to a promising start in 2005 with a technology platform for improved protein therapies. The startup burned through about $50 million advancing the technology over its first 5 years, Timmerman reported, but in late 2011 a plan to go public through a reverse merger with Poniard Pharmaceuticals fell apart and a round of layoffs quickly followed.

Most recently the startup has touted an ability to generate antibody-drug conjugates, or ADCs, one of the hot areas of drug development right now. The company has also researched a longer-lasting interferon beta for multiple sclerosis, yet Timmerman explains how the MS giant Biogen Idec ($BIIB) could have the startup outmatched with its rival therapy in advanced development.

- get more from Timmerman's article

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