Celladon Shutters Its R&D

Biotech firm likely to pull the plug after its gene therapy product fails.

Jun 26, 2015
Kerry Grens

WIKIMEDIA, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTHFollowing an announcement in April that its gene therapy product does not work, the San Diego-based biotech Celladon is halving its staff and suspending research and development operations.

“Celladon was once among the highest profile companies in the gene therapy space, developing a treatment for the common ailment of heart failure in contrast to the rare disease R&D that has largely dominated the field,” according to Fierce Biotech. “The plan now is to find a merger or sale that can salvage some value…”

Celladon’s therapy, Mydicar, used a viral vector to deliver the gene encoding an enzyme that ensures proper functioning of cardiomyocytes in patients with heart failure. However, when compared to a placebo, Mydicar did not prevent the progression of heart failure or hospitalizations.

“Our Board of Directors has unanimously determined that seeking a merger or sale, in lieu of further development of our remaining programs and assets, gives us the best opportunity to maximize shareholder value. We are aggressively pursuing that course,” Paul Cleveland, president and chief executive officer of Celladon, said in a press release today (June 26). “If we are unable to identify a merger or sale that provides superior value to our shareholders, we will move forward with a liquidation and distribution of net cash to shareholders.”