Talaris lays off 95% of workforce, C-suite as kidney transplant company fails to find a savior

Talaris Therapeutics was already put on life support back in February, when the biotech axed two kidney transplant trials along with a third of its staff. Now, the company is letting go of 95% of remaining employees.

The termination of around 80 employees will also see Talaris lose almost its entire C-suite—namely CEO Scott Requadt, Chief Medical Officer Nancy Krieger, M.D., Chief Technology Officer Michael Zdanowski and Chief Human Resources Officer Andrew Farnsworth. Chief Financial Officer Mary Kay Fenton will be retained while the company continues to search for a “strategic transaction” to avoid resorting to liquidation, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing (PDF) on Friday.

The organ transplantation-focused biotech conducted a review of all of its programs and decided in February to ax the FREEDOM-1 and FREEDOM-2 clinical trials, which were evaluating FCR001 in living donor kidney transplant patients to see whether the med could prevent rejection and other complications.

Talaris blamed the pace of enrollment and associated timeline to critical milestones for the decision. However, the phase 2 FREEDOM-3 study of FCR001 in scleroderma continued.

At the time, the company said other strategic options were being considered to maximize shareholder value, which could ultimately include a business combination with another company or the sale of its cell therapy chemistry, manufacturing and controls capabilities. Friday’s filing makes clear a deal has yet to materialize.

Talaris had about $181.3 million in cash on hand as of the end of 2022. The company estimates that the two waves of layoffs will require about $8.7 million in severance costs.