Catalyst Biosciences Down 40% After Announcing MarzAA Development Halt

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Catalyst Biosciences Down 40% After Announcing MarzAA Development Halt
Credit: © Reuters.

By Sam Boughedda — Catalyst Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ: CBIO ) shares tumbled more than 40% after it told investors it has made a strategic decision to discontinue the development of MarzAA, an investigational therapy designed to prevent acute bleeds in hemophilia patients.

In addition, the company said it will seek a buyer for its hemophilia assets.

In the last couple hours of trading before the weekend, the company's shares are trading around $1.74.

"Based on several factors including a recently updated feasibility assessment, we determined that we cannot continue to develop MarzAA through completion of the ongoing trials," said Nassim Usman, CEO of Catalyst Biosciences.

"Enrollment in our MarzAA clinical trials has been adversely impacted by several factors, including pandemic-related logistical challenges, competition for subjects, and increasing availability of prophylaxis therapy globally. Given these factors, it is no longer feasible for us to deliver topline data in 2022," added Usman.

The decision by the company to halt the development of the therapy will allow it to reduce the current burn rate by 40%.

While it will report on the data obtained in the Crimson-1 trial for subcutaneous MarzAA, CBIO will now focus its attention on its complement therapeutics and protease platform.

Alongside the change in strategy, the company also reported its third quarter earnings on Friday, recording a loss of 80 cents a share on revenue of $2.3 million. Analysts predicted a loss of 66 cents a share on revenue of $675,000.

Cash, cash equivalents and, investments at the end of September were $64.5 million.

Friday's announcement prompted analysts to downgrade the stock and lower price targets. Raymond (NS: RYMD ) James downgraded CBIO to market perform from outperform, while JonesTrading downgraded it to Hold from Buy. 

Piper Sandler lowered their price target on CBIO shares to $4 from $16. 

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