AACR: Biotechs emerge frostbitten from ‘nuclear winter,’ ready to show why they fought for survival

The trees have been trimmed, branches pruned, underbrush cleared away. A thinner, leaner biotech forest arrived at the American Association for Cancer Research conference in San Diego ready to showcase the budding data that has sprouted as a result of difficult decisions made during the sector’s so-called “nuclear winter.”

It’s a show-me year for these companies, which rode waves of layoffs throughout 2023 and cut programs in order to stay afloat amid an extremely challenging fundraising environment. Many kept just the highest priority programs going.

Reflecting on the tough times past, biotech executives told Fierce Biotech in interviews on the sidelines of the AACR conference that they are ready to show what all those gut-wrenching decisions were for.

“It was devastating. It was really tough,” said Raquel Izumi, Ph.D., chief operations officer for Vincerx. The company cut 33% of staff in June 2022 and trimmed its pipeline to focus…
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