Circio strengthens its focus on next generation circular RNA therapeutics with additional cost reductions

  • Closing of Finnish subsidiary
  • The Board of Directors will be reduced from seven to four persons
  • The management team will be restructured to five persons
  • Cost savings will extend the runway on existing resources

Earlier this year, Circio announced a strategic shift to prioritize and accelerate its innovative and differentiated circVec circular RNA platform. To establish a strong foundation for building a novel pre-clinical pipeline, the company’s activities and organization have been further optimized to support and reinforce circVec development in rare disease and vaccines. In sum, these initiatives lead to substantial cost reductions, thereby extending the runway on existing resources.

Circio intends to close the subsidiary Targovax OY in Finland, which owned and managed the ONCOS-102 program. All activities relating to the wind-down of ONCOS-102 clinical development and manufacturing will soon be completed and is not expected to incur further costs. There are currently no plans to reinitiate ONCOS-102 development, but this may change if investor and partnering interest for oncolytic viruses reemerges in the future.

As a result of this new strategic focus and after discussions with the Nomination Committee, the three Directors Bente-Lill Romøren, Sonia Quaratino and Raphael Clynes have tendered their resignations from Circio’s Board. In parallel, the management team has been reorganized with VP and Head of Clinical Development, Margrethe Sørgaard, moving on to take up a new external role. The remaining management team has also taken a temporary pay reduction as a further cost-saving initiative. This restructuring of the Board and management, together with the previously communicated staff reductions during 2Q 2023, enables around 40% lower payroll costs from 2H 2023 onwards.

Damian Marron, Chairman of Circio, commented: “I wish to sincerely thank Bente-Lill, Sonia and Raphael for their service and important contributions to Circio over the years. In addition, I extend my gratitude to Margrethe for her deep dedication to the ONCOS-102 and TG01 clinical development programs. Although we are very sorry to lose the valuable experience and contributions these talented individuals have brought to the Board and management, we are now implementing a new strategy that requires a different toolbox and skillset. With these adjustments we believe that we have a strong, right-sized team to continue building Circio into the clear leader in vector-delivered circular RNA therapeutics.”

Following the resignations, Circio´s Board will, effective 17 October 2023 and until the 2024 Annual General Meeting, be comprised of four Directors: Damian Marron (Chairman), Diane Mellet, Robert Burns and Thomas Falck. Circio’s management team will consist of five members: Erik D Wiklund (CEO), Lubor Gaal (CFO), Victor Levitsky (CSO), Thomas B Hansen (VP & Head of Research) and Ola Melin (VP & Head of Manufacturing).  

For further information, please contact:
Erik Digman Wiklund, CEO
Phone: +47 413 33 536

Renate Birkeli, Investor Relations
Phone: +47 922 61 624

About Circio

Building next generation RNA therapeutics

Circio Holding ASA is a biotechnology company developing novel circular RNA and immunotherapy medicines.

Circio has established a unique circular RNA (circRNA) platform to develop novel circRNA medicines for rare disease, vaccines, and cancer. The proprietary circVec technology is based on a modular genetic cassette design for efficient biogenesis of multifunctional circRNA from DNA and viral vectors, which can be deployed for many purposes. The circVec platform has demonstrated enhanced and more durable protein expression than classic mRNA vector systems, and has the potential to become the new gold-standard for DNA and virus-based therapeutics in the future. The circRNA R&D activities are being conducted by the wholly owned subsidiary Circio AB based at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

In addition, Circio is developing a cancer vaccine, TG01, targeting KRAS driver mutations. TG01 is currently being tested in two clinical trials in RAS-mutated pancreatic cancer and multiple myeloma in the USA and Norway. These studies are being run through academic collaborative networks, supported by prestigious research grants from Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council, creating read-outs and future optionality for the program at low cost to Circio.