Pieris Pharmaceuticals will be laying off 70% of its workforce as part of a corporate restructuring following the termination of its collaboration with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

After encountering challenges such as the termination of patient recruitment in a Phase IIa asthma trial of the drug elarekibep, AstraZeneca decided to end its R&D partnership with Pieris, per the 18 July announcement. The company has returned elakeribep and terminated the existing discovery program.

The two companies announced their collaboration to develop inhaled engineered proteins in May 2017. As part of the agreement, AstraZeneca has agreed to fund all clinical development and commercialisation programmes of the lead candidate, elarekibep.

Also known as PRS-060, elarekibep is a type of engineered protein that targets interleukin-4 receptor alpha, which is based on Pieris’ Anticalin platform. The companies also agreed to develop four additional treatments based on the platform for different targets in respiratory disease.

Last month, Pieris announced that AstraZeneca discontinued a Phase IIa trial of elarekibep based on new non-clinical safety findings from a 13-week toxicology primate study. While there were no clinical observations in the three investigated doses, there were respiratory tract pathology findings, which included inflammation-mediated lung tissue damage, per a 21 June announcement. 

Pieris now plans to focus on several strategic options, including partnership discussions surrounding the two candidates, PRS-200 and PRS-400. PRS-200 is an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis treatment, whereas PRS-400 is an inhibitor of the protein-ligand Jagged-1. The company aimed to share topline data from a Phase I trial of PRS-220 in H2 2023, per a May press release.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData

The company also plans to select a development partner to restart the development of the immuno-oncology drug cinrebafusp alfa. The company is consulting further strategic opportunities with its financial advisers to explore potential acquisitions, mergers, and reverse mergers. Other options also include selling assets and licensing, per the announcement.

Pieris has some existing collaborations announced in the last few years. In May 2021, Pieris announced a research collaboration and licensing agreement with Genentech around the Anticalin technology for the development of potential respiratory and ophthalmological treatments. Pieris has further partnerships with the companies Boston Pharmaceuticals, Seagen and Servier for its immuno-oncology platform.