Fledgling Gossamer sets up an early biotech IPO test for 2019 with a $265M challenge

Last summer when I was interviewing Faheem Hasnain about the $330 million he had raised in a snap for his new biotech upstart Gossamer, he happily noted that there was an IPO out there on the horizon. 

Turns out, that time horizon was quite close.

On Friday Hasnain, executive chairman, and Gossamer CEO Sheila Gujrathi posted their S-1, outlining an IPO in search of roughly $265 million — though that’s a number they would no doubt like to surpass. It’s a fitting end for 2018, which saw a string of unicorns go public with little or no human data to their credit for startups with short takeoff trajectories on a flight path filled with peril.

The filing poses an interesting test. Can a fledgling biotech long on promise and short on performance still command big market caps in 2019? It worked for players like Rubius $RUBY and Allogene $ALLO, but has gone seriously awry at Moderna $MRNA, which has seen billions leak out of its valuation after going public at a record cap in excess of $7 billion. And the market has entered a period of intense turbulence for Gossamer’s debut.

Hasnain and Gujrathi got some of the old team at Receptos back together for the new startup, executing a series of deals and assembling a set of therapies for its pipeline. And they scored a significant amount of shares for themselves in promising to prove that they can go big again. 

During this startup year each gained compensation packages packed with $18.4 million, most in stock awards with an identical salary of $469,601.

ARCH Venture Partners is the big stockholder, with 17% of the equity going in. Omega Fund has 15.1%. 

Featured Image: Faheem Hasnain on stage at the Endpoints News / PharmCube #BIIS18 summit in Shanghai, October 2018Endpoints News

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