High costs, investor exit prompt closure of cell therapy biotech Walking Fish

Walking Fish Therapeutics has closed after a lead investor backed out of a critical series B round. 

CEO Rusty Williams, M.D., Ph.D., said in an interview with Fierce Biotech that the biotech was on the precipice of securing fresh capital to enter the clinic when an unnamed top investor backed out, citing concerns about the cost of a multi-year lease. The decision, which came after Walking Fish secured two federal ARPA-H grants to help take the pressure off internal financiers, stunned Williams.

“It was a shock,” the CEO said. “T​​his investor just pulled out abruptly and said they wanted to shut down the company.”

As a result, 35 employees were laid off, which followed two other layoff rounds to help dwindle costs. 

Endpoints News first reported Walking Fish’s closure. 

Walking Fish was more than two years removed from a $73 million series A co-led by Northpond Ventures and First…
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