Gemini Therapeutics has signed a definitive agreement to join forces with Disc Medicine in an all-stock deal to create a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company.
To support the merger, Disc raised $53.5 million in funding from a group of healthcare investors led by Access Biotechnology and also including OrbiMed, Atlas Venture and 5AM Ventures among others.
The combined company is expected to be called Disc Medicine, which will have its corporate headquarters in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA.
It will be valued at approximately $175 million in cash or cash equivalents.
Proceeds from the business combination will be used to advance Disc’s pipeline into clinical trials and provide financing through 2025.
Disc focuses on the discovery and development of new therapies for patients with severe hematological diseases.
Following the combination, the combined business will work to advance Disc’s pipeline of hematology programs.
They include various patient clinical trials for the Disc, bitopertin and DISC-0974 programs, which are currently in clinical development.
A GlyT1 glycine transporter inhibitor, bitopertin showed effects on heme biosynthesis in clinical trials. Last year, Disc licensed bitopertin from Roche.
Licensed by AbbVie in 2019, DISC-0974 is a monoclonal antibody. It acts on the hemojuvelin co-receptor and can inhibit hepcidin production and increase serum iron levels in individuals with anemia of inflammation.
The drive also has a research program which may discover orally available small molecules to inhibit Matriptase-2 and increase hepcidin production and inhibit iron availability.
Present Disc Medicine CEO and President John Quisel will lead the combined company along with other members of the management team.
The Board of Directors of Gemini and Disc Medicine have given unanimous approval to the deal.
Quisel said: “In the past several months, we have initiated clinical studies in patients for both bitopertin and DISC-0974 and presented first-in-human data from DISC-0974, our hepcidin suppressor program, establishing validation clinical mechanism.
“This transaction will provide us with tremendous financial strength, advance several programs through a variety of data catalysts, and enable us to explore the full potential of our pipeline.”
Subject to necessary conditions and approvals, the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.