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Generation Bio cuts its payroll by 40 percent in latest restructuring move

The Cambridge biotech startup is seeking to extend its cash into 2027

An aerial view of the Kendall Square area in Cambridge. Generation Bio, a Cambridge genetic medicines startup, became the latest Massachusetts biotech to slash its payroll.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Generation Bio, a Cambridge genetic medicines startup, became the latest Massachusetts biotech to slash its payroll, eliminating nearly 70 jobs as part of a move to conserve its cash into 2027.

The company, launched by Atlas Venture in 2016 to develop new ways to deliver gene therapies, said Thursday that a “strategic reorganization” would reduce its workforce by 40 percent, or 68 jobs. Its shares edged up 3.4 percent to $1.16 on the Nasdaq after its announcement.

Generation Bio had $291 million in cash and cash equivalents on Sept. 30. As it seeks to invest in the most promising research in its labs, “we’re really focusing on what we can do with our cash on hand,” said Maren Killackey, senior director of investor relations and communications.

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Generation Bio said it will terminate its chief medical officer, Douglas Kerr, and its chief development officer, Tracy Zimmermann, in the restructuring. Killackey said there are no immediate plans to fill those jobs. An unspecified number of employees who remain will receive retention bonuses, the company said in a regulatory filing.

The cutback comes in an investment environment slowed by higher interest rates after years of expansion extending into the Covid pandemic. More than 100 companies shed jobs during the first half of this year, twice as many as in the corresponding period in 2022, according to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a trade group.

Earlier this month, Theseus Pharmaceuticals, another Cambridge biotech, laid off 72 percent of its workforce, including its vice president of president of research and development, William C. Shakespeare.

At least 56 drug makers that are based in Massachusetts or have operations here have cut their staffs or closed in the first nine months of this year, Dan Gold, president of life sciences recruiter Fairway Consulting Group, recently estimated.

Last March, Generation Bio struck a licensing deal to develop cell-based treatments targeting the immune system and liver for Cambridge-based Moderna. Under that deal, Moderna paid Generation Bio about $40 million in upfront cash and agreed to pay up to $1.8 billion more if the experimental treatments hit agreed-on milestones.

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Moderna also made a $36 million stock investment in Generation Bio.

Generation Bio said Thursday that its work with Moderna would continue while it would also seek to develop its own therapies to treat a range of rare diseases, including the bleeding disorder hemophilia A.


Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com.