Zymeworks losses jump US$40m in one year amid C-suite shuffle

B.C. biotech also names new CFO in first financials since departure of founding CEO

Zymeworks CEO Ken Galbraith | Submitted

Shares of Zymeworks Inc. (NYSE:ZYME) are down Friday morning after the B.C. biotech revealed significant losses in its first financials since last month’s departure of its founding CEO.

Net losses grew to US$211.8 million in 2021 – up from US$171.2 million a year earlier.

Revenue dropped to US$26.7 million in 2021 compared with US$39 million in 2020.

Shares were trading as high as US$7.29 Friday morning after financials were released at the close of markets Thursday. They have since fallen to US$7.03 as of 7:25 a.m. PT.

The company, best known for developing platforms that help other drugs more accurately identify and target cancerous cells, laid off about 25 per cent of its workforce in January and cut its senior management team in half.

Founding CEO Ali Tehrani also departed the top job at that time, with former board member Kenneth Galbraith taking over as CEO and chairman.

“Since assuming my new role a month ago, I am pleased with our progress to focus on our key strategic priorities and improve our operational performance in order to deliver exceptional results for patients and our investors,” Galbraith said in a statement.

Zymeworks went public in 2017, raising nearly US$60 million in its initial public offering.

Shares debuted at US$13 each and rose to a high of US$57 in January 2021. 

Late last month it closed another offering to the tune of US$107.6 million

“Based on our current operating plan, we believe that our current cash resources, in combination with the anticipated cost savings from the reduction in workforce, proceeds from our public offering and proceeds from other collaboration payments we anticipate receiving, will enable us to fund our planned operations into the second half of 2023 and potentially beyond,” the company said in a release.

Zymeworks also announced Thursday it has tapped Chris Astle as its new chief financial officer.

The Brit, who holds a PhD in chemistry, relocated from Seattle to take over duties from long-time executive Neil Klompas.

Klompas continues to serve as chief operating officer.

“Following the successful hand off of the CFO role, one I have held since 2007, our senior management team will be better positioned to focus on delivering results against the key strategic priorities of our business,” Klompas said in a statement.