X4 joins handful of biotechs sending staff out the door in 'strategic prioritization'

The end of the second quarter sparked a flurry of layoffs across the biotech industry, and X4 Pharmaceuticals is the latest to show staff the door.

The immune system specialist is “streamlining resources,” resulting in a 20% staff reduction and the discontinuation of the biotech’s oncology program. These changes will result in a $5 million reduction in expenditures for 2022 and a $20 million reduction in 2023, the company said in a Thursday press release.

“Parting with employees who have supported the company to this critical stage in our corporate evolution is a heavy decision,” X4 CEO Paula Ragan, Ph.D., said in a statement.

These strategic changes, as well as a recent $55 million capital raise, will allow X4 to extend its cash runway into the third quarter of 2023.

X4 will now shift its focus solely to lead candidate mavorixafor in warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections and myelokathexis (WHIM) syndrome and other chronic neutropenic disorders. Data from a phase 3 trial in WHIM are expected in the fourth quarter, and a new drug application submission is slated for the second half of 2023.

In the broader chronic neutropenic disorder indication, X4 is expecting results from a phase 1b trial in the third quarter. The company is hoping these data will confirm mavorixafor’s potential in these disorders beyond just WHIM and support regulatory discussions with the FDA.

Another therapy for chronic neutropenic disorders, X4P-003, will wait in the stockroom while X4 advances mavorixafor. The company said further advancement will only happen if the biotech is able to secure a first approval for the lead therapy and in the event of “lifecycle management of the company’s product portfolio.” X4P-003 was in preclinical development with patent applications filed.

As for the oncology program that is now being wrapped up, mavorixafor was also being tested in a phase 1b trial for Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, a rare cancer of the white blood cells. Clinical data for that indication are expected in early August for patients who have certain gene mutations. X4 is not completely throwing out the program. It will pursue additional clinical trials if a strategic partnership were to materialize.

X4P-002 is another preclinical candidate that will only move forward if the X4 finds a partner. It was in development for for leukemias and lymphomas.

To read more about layoffs across the biotech industry, check out Fierce Biotech's Layoff Tracker.