Bolt Biotherapeutics to lay off staff, abandon lead ADC candidate

San Francisco-based Bolt Biotherapeutics on Wednesday said it is ending development of its lead cancer drug, laying off half its staff and changing up its leadership.

Alongside announcing first quarter earnings, the biotechnology company revealed it will no longer advance its antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab imbotolimod, or BDC-1001, after concluding the program was unlikely to meet its “high bar for advancement.”

Instead, the company will focus on two earlier-stage candidates: BDC-3042, an agonist antibody now in Phase 1 testing, and BDC-4182, currently in preclinical evaluation. The latter is a product of Bolt’s immune-stimulating antibody conjugate, or ISAC, platform, which is meant to trigger anti-tumor immune responses. It’s aimed at a protein called Claudin 18.2 that’s becoming an increasingly popular target among cancer drug developers.

The company’s ISAC research will continue to be supported by collaborations with Genmab and Toray. The former is funding up to three ISAC…
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