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Avrobio Halts Gene Therapy Development Programs as It Mulls Strategic Alternatives

NEW YORK – Avrobio on Wednesday said it will pause its drug development programs following a review of its business.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based gene therapy developer said it is assessing strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value including acquisitions, mergers, business combinations, or other transactions. The company does not have a timeline for when it expects to complete this evaluation process.

Avrobio in May said it was on track to initiate a registrational Phase II/III trial for a gene therapy for Gaucher disease type 3 and planned to kick off a Phase I/II trial for a cystinosis drug in the second half of the year. However, later that month, it announced plans to sell its cystinosis program to Novartis for $87.5 million.

Other gene therapies in Avrobio's pipeline include a treatment for Hunter syndrome in early-stage clinical development and another for Pompe disease in preclinical stage.

In reporting Q1 financials in May, Avrobio disclosed that it had $72.3 million in cash and cash equivalents as of the first quarter of 2023, which would enable it to fund operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into early 2024. Earlier that month, the firm appointed its CFO Erik Ostrowski as interim CEO, following founding President and CEO Geoff MacKay's departure.

Shares of Avrobio were up 44 percent at $1.41 in Wednesday afternoon trade on the Nasdaq.