Synlogic sinks as pipeline doubts grow

Synlogic has done the decent thing and discontinued development of SYNB1020 after an early-stage failure in cirrhosis. The big question now is whether the group’s bacteria-based approach still has legs. Synlogic’s sellside cheerleaders tried to play down the implications for the company’s pipeline, but unconvinced investors sent the group’s stock down 28% yesterday and a further 7% this morning. Synlogic’s platform creates engineered E coli Nissle bacteria to act as "living medicines", and there are reasons to be cautious about its remaining assets: its phenylketonuria project SYNB1618 failed to lower phenylalanine in phase I/II, and the group is still tinkering with the formulation; meanwhile, questions are growing about Sting-targeting approaches like SYNB1891. Synlogic also has a deal with Abbvie in inflammatory bowel disease, but this has yet to produce any clinical projects despite being signed in 2016. A more recent collaboration with the microbe specialist Ginkgo Bioworks could help replenish Synlogic’s pipeline, but work is very early. Confidence in the group’s technology has not been helped by a notable share price decline in the past month, and it is hard to see how it will be restored.

Could bad news be catching for Synlogic's pipeline?
Project Indication Description 2024e sales ($m) Status
SYNB1020   Hyperammonemia Urea cycle regulator 182 Discontinued after phI/II trial failure
SYNB1618  Phenylketonuria Phenylalanine hydroxylase agent 52 Bridging study of solid oral formulation planned
SYNB1891* Solid tumours Sting agonist - Preclinical; IND planned in H2 2019
Unnamed** Inflammatory bowel disease Unspecified - Preclinical
*Clinical collaboration with Roche; **collaboration with Abbvie. Source: EvaluatePharma & company website.

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