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Syros Pharmaceuticals Lays Off 35 Percent of Workforce, Shifts Focus to Late-Stage Leukemia Agent

NEW YORK – Syros Pharmaceuticals on Monday announced that it is laying off 35 percent of its workforce and reorganizing the company to focus on developing tamibarotene for certain patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia.

Syros is evaluating its RARα agonist tamibarotene combined with chemotherapy and AbbVie/Genentech's Venclexta (venetoclax) in RARA -positive AML through the Phase II SELECT-AML-1 clinical trial, and combined with just chemotherapy in RARA-positive MDS through the Phase III SELECT-MDS-1 clinical trial. As part of the reorganization, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Syros plans to focus on preparing for a potential US commercial launch.

The firm also announced it would stop investing in the development of its acute promyelocytic leukemia agent SY-2101. This could resume once more if the firm has sufficient capital. For now, Syros is also stopping preclinical and discovery-stage programs. The company is also replacing current CEO Nancy Simonian with Conley Chee, its current chief commercial officer and chief business officer.

"I believe tamibarotene offers a unique and highly differentiated product profile, with the potential to disrupt the treatment paradigm for large populations in MDS and AML, two blood disorders that have largely eluded current targeted approaches," Chee said in a statement. "As we look toward near-term data catalysts from SELECT-MDS-1 and SELECT-AML-1, we are planning for our next phase of growth."