Bluebird Bio Inc., a biotech pioneer in the field of gene therapies, plans to split itself in two later this year, spinning off its cancer-drug unit
Bluebird Bio Inc., a biotech pioneer in the field of gene therapies, plans to split itself in two later this year, spinning off its cancer-drug unit into a new, publicly traded company so it can focus on rare diseases.
Bluebird Chief Executive Nick Leschly will helm the new cancer company and assume a new position as executive chairman of Bluebird. Andrew Obenshain, currently Bluebird’s president of severe genetic diseases, will become its chief executive, the company said.
The separation is expected to close in the fourth quarter, the company said.
“We built this powerful product engine, and the question is: ‘What is the best way to think about the next five to 10 years?’ ” Mr. Leschly said in an interview. “We don’t believe the past is the best way to head into the future.”
The restructuring comes as Bluebird struggles to match its scientific achievements advancing its drug pipeline with commercial success. The Cambridge, Mass., biotech has grappled with painful delays in securing U.S. regulatory approvals and generating revenue from a rare-disease blood drug cleared in Europe.