Gossamer Bio, headed by former Receptos executives, made its debut in January with $100 million in financing. Seven months later, it tacked on another $230 million.
Now, the San Diego-based startup is looking to Wall Street for additional funds. The company last Friday outlined plans for an initial public offering to advance its development of immunology, inflammation, and oncology drugs.
Gossamer wants to raise $264.5 million through the offering, but that target is likely to change before the company enters the public market. It has applied to list its shares on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol “GOSS.”
In the first nine months of 2018, the company burned through $108.2 million, according to documents filed with the SEC. Gossamer said it has $243 million in working capital on hand at the end of September. In the documents, the company said it expects “to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future” as it works to bring its drugs to market.
The company said it plans to use the IPO proceeds to fund research and development for its three clinical-stage drug programs, and to continue developing the three preclinical programs in its pipeline.
Gossamer’s lead product candidate, known as GB001, is a treatment for eosinophilic asthma, a hard-to-manage form of the chronic lung condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 13 people in the U.S have asthma. Gossamer, which estimates that half of severe asthma patients in the U.S. have the eosinophilic subtype, said 409 people have taken its investigational drug, and that it was generally well-tolerated.
A Phase 2 trial of GB001 in Japan showed improvements compared to a placebo in the time to an asthma attack, Gossamer said.
But a separate Phase 2 trial of the drug candidate wasn’t successful in achieving a specific degree of obstruction, called forced expiratory volume in one second, or FEV1. The company, however, noted the asthma drug montelukast also failed to meet the same goal, and Gossamer attributed the failure to the design of the study and patient selection. One adverse event occurred when a patient received a much higher level of the drug than recommended.
In October, Gossamer started a Phase 2b trial. The company said it believes the drug candidate could also be used to treat other conditions, including chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps and chronic spontaneous urticaria. Gossamer said it plans to start proof-of-concept Phase 2 clinical trials for these indications in 2019.
Another of the company’s drug candidates in testing, GB002, is designed to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, a progressive and often fatal disease. While there are existing therapies for the disease, Gossamer says its candidate could be the first to slow the condition’s progression. The company plans to start a Phase 1b trial in the first half of 2019, and a Phase 2/3 trial in the second half. Gossamer licensed GB002 from New York-based Pulmokine.
Gossamer is also in Phase 1 testing for GB004, potentially a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. It licensed the compound from Cincinnati, OH-based Aerpio Pharmaceuticals ARPO (NASDAQ: ARPO).
The company is also evaluating an oral small molecule for oncology indications and a portfolio of drugs that target the protein Bruton’s tyrosine kinase for the treatment of autoimmune indications and investigational small molecule cancer drugs.
Sheila Gujrathi, previously Receptos’s chief medical officer, is Gossamer’s co-founder, president, and CEO. Co-founder Faheem Hasnain, formerly CEO at Receptos, was previously Gossamer’s CEO; now, he is its executive chairman.
In September, Gossamer added Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) veteran Luisa Salter-Cid to its C-suite as chief scientific officer. Salter-Cid was previously Bristol-Myers Squibb’s head of immunology discovery. This month it added Jakob Dupont, formerly with Genentech, the South San Francisco, CA-based division of Swiss pharmaceutical giant, as its chief medical officer.
The company said it has nearly 100 employees.
The company’s backers include China’s Hillhouse Capital; Arch Venture Partners; Omega Funds; the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority; Invus; the Boston, MA-based hedge fund Baupost Group; and venture capital firm Polaris Partners.