Jim Tananbaum, Foresite Capital CEO (Business Wire)

Fore­site pulls Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics to Nas­daq in a quick $216M SPAC flip

Jim Tanan­baum was look­ing for a spe­cif­ic type of com­pa­ny, one with a ge­net­ics-dri­ven plat­form, when he launched Fore­site Cap­i­tal’s first blank check com­pa­ny. And he’s found it in Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics.

Just two months af­ter FS De­vel­op­ment Corp land­ed on Nas­daq with $121 mil­lion in the bank, it will give way to Gem­i­ni fol­low­ing a merg­er and con­cur­rent pri­vate place­ment to­tal­ing $95 mil­lion.

At­las Ven­ture, Light­stone Ven­tures and Or­biMed — the orig­i­nal in­vestors lead­ing Gem­i­ni’s $42.5 mil­lion launch round three years ago — are on the ros­ter Fore­site has cor­ralled, along­side ex­ist­ing in­vestor Wu Cap­i­tal. Fi­deli­ty, Welling­ton Man­age­ment, Box­er Cap­i­tal of Tavi­s­tock Group, Alyeska In­vest­ment Group, Su­vret­ta Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, CVF, DAF­NA Cap­i­tal and Acorn Bioven­tures tagged along.

In a year where biotech SPAC is gath­er­ing near­ly as much steam as IPOs, the sub­se­quent merg­er deals are slow­er to fol­low. Spon­sors — from 5AM, Cas­din, Cor­morant, Deer­field, EcoR1 to MPM — ap­pear to be tak­ing their time (they have two years max) to iden­ti­fy the right biotech to take pub­lic.

But Fore­site chief Tanan­baum, who dou­bled as pres­i­dent and CEO of FS De­vel­op­ment Corp, quick­ly saw some­thing to like about Gem­i­ni’s ap­proach of tai­lor-mak­ing treat­ments for sub­pop­u­la­tions of pa­tients with mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion based on their ge­net­ic vari­ants.

Ja­son Meyen­burg

It spawned a pipeline span­ning re­com­bi­nant pro­tein, mon­o­clon­al an­ti­body and gene ther­a­py, which will con­tin­ue to be over­seen by Gem­i­ni CEO Ja­son Meyen­burg.

The biotech high­light­ed three main groups of pro­grams that will ben­e­fit from the new cash: GEM103, the lead prod­uct can­di­date for dry AMD, cur­rent­ly in Phase IIa for pa­tients with a com­ple­ment Fac­tor H mu­ta­tion; oth­er clin­i­cal pro­grams in cer­tain wet AMD pa­tients with sec­ondary mac­u­lar at­ro­phy; and fu­ture pro­grams to treat in­ter­me­di­ate AMD as well as sys­temic dis­eases as­so­ci­at­ed with com­ple­ment Fac­tor H dys­func­tion.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly con­sid­ered go­ing pub­lic, Gem­i­ni’s pro­file fits per­fect­ly with what he’d con­sid­er an ide­al can­di­date for a blank check hunter, At­las’ Bruce Booth ob­served in a blog post as he cel­e­brates his firm’s first SPAC ex­it:

The op­ti­mal biotech merg­er tar­get pro­file, in my opin­ion, is the “pre-crossover” pri­vate com­pa­ny that has an emerg­ing prod­uct pipeline with an ex­pec­ta­tion of mean­ing­ful clin­i­cal news flow over the next 1-3 years. It ob­vi­ous­ly needs to be a sto­ry that will ap­peal to biotech pub­lic mar­ket in­vestors. This like­ly means the com­pa­ny has raised $25-100M in pre­ferred stock fi­nanc­ings, but hasn’t yet built a ros­ter of cus­tom­ary crossover in­vestors yet. In lieu of the crossover/IPO two-step di­lu­tion of a tra­di­tion­al path, and the risk of mar­ket volatil­i­ty, ac­cess­ing the pub­lic mar­kets via a de­fined SPAC timetable may be smarter.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Goldfinch Bio CEO Tony Johnson (L) and Karuna Therapeutics CEO Bill Meury

Karuna li­cens­es Goldfinch as­sets to com­pete with Boehringer In­gel­heim in neu­ro­science

Karuna Therapeutics is looking to compete with Boehringer Ingelheim on depression and anxiety with a new license to Goldfinch Bio’s assets, starting with $15 million to the shuttered biotech.

Karuna steps into an arena already being tested by Boehringer in multiple Phase II studies — the two are targeting transient receptor potential canonical 4 and 5, or TRPC4/5, which is thought to have a role in neuroscience indications. Goldfinch’s asset went through a Phase II in kidney diseases, but Karuna’s sights are set on mood and anxiety disorders for now.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.