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bluebird bio aiming to separate business units by year-end

Biotech company has revealed that its new, separate oncology company will be named 2seventy bio

US-based biotech company bluebird bio has revealed the name for its new, separate oncology company within its first quarter results, while also reporting a decrease in revenues for the period. 

At the beginning of the year, bluebird bio announced plans to spin out its oncology business into a new company, while it remained focused on developing gene therapies for rare diseases.

Amid the biotech company’s Q1 results, bluebird bio revealed the new company’s name – 2seventy bio. Nick Leschly, chief executive officer of bluebird bio, explained the name: “Two hundred seventy miles per hour is the maximum speed of human thought. The name 2seventy was selected to signify this speed and our team’s translation of thought to action as we advance our next generation pipeline of transformative cell therapies to help cancer patients urgently in need.”

2seventy bio will assume responsibility for a number of bluebird bio’s oncology assets, such as its Bristol Myers Squibb(BMS) partnered BCMA-targeted CAR T cell immunotherapy Abecma (idecabtagene vicleucel; ide-cel), which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March.

bluebird bio is aiming to have completed the planned business separation by the end of 2021, in an effort to revamp and streamline its focus on “delivering transformative outcomes for patients”.

Elsewhere in its Q1 results, bluebird bio reported a significant decrease in total revenues for the three months ended 31 March 2021 – $12.8m compared to $21.9m in the same period last year.

According to bluebird bio, this decrease was driven primarily by a drop in license and manufacturing services revenue for ide-cel, as well as a decrease in revenue relating to treating patients in a phase 1 study of the gene therapy in multiple myeloma under its agreements with BMS.

Research and development expenses for Q1 were also up slightly, increasing from $154.1m last year to $154.5 in 2021.

On top of that, selling, general and administrative expense also increased to $86.9m from $73.2m last year, due to an increase in employee compensation, benefit and other headcount related expenses as well as increases in consulting fees associated with the ongoing company split.

In April, bluebird bio also announced that it is anticipating a potential lift of all clinical holds on its LentiGlobin gene therapy for sickle cell disease (SCD) following the re-classification of one of the previously reported suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions (SUSAR).

Earlier this year, bluebird bio said that it had received reports of a case of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in a patient from group C of the phase 1/2 HGB-206 study of LentiGlobin (betibeglogene autotemcel; beti-cel) for SCD.

At the same time, bluebird bio said that another SUSAR of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) had been reported in the HGB-206 study.

However, further assessment of the MDS case saw the treating investigator conclude that the patient did not have this condition, diagnosing them instead with transfusion-dependent anaemia.

bluebird bio also previously reported that it is ‘very unlikely’ that the SUSAR of AML was related to the BB305 lentiviral vector (LVV) used for LentiGlobin gene therapy.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

6th May 2021

From: Sales

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