Startup Gossamer Bio Snags $230 Million in Funding, Names New CEO
Since it first launched with $100 million in the bank earlier this year, Gossamer Bio has been on something of a roll. In June, the company forged a $420 million developmental agreement with Aerpio Therapeutics and this morning Gossamer announced it closed a $230 million Series B funding round.
San Diego-based Gossamer said the funds raised in this latest round will be used to continue the growth of the company as it moves to advance its clinical trials for multiple early and late-stage drug candidates. Gossamer also said that a portion of the funds will be used to “secure additional business development opportunities.” What those opportunities may be, were not shared by the company at this time.
The funding round was led by Hillhouse Capital and supported by new investors Invus, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, The Baupost Group and Polaris Partners. Existing investors ARCH Venture Partners and Omega Funds also participated in the funding round. In a brief statement, Hillhouse said it was excited to work with Gossamer to fund the development of its pipeline for the benefit of patients.
Gossamer’s June deal with Aerpio will focus on that company’s HIF-1 alpha stabilizer, AKB-4924. Gossamer forked over $20 million in upfront monies to develop AKB-4924 (now known as GB004), as well as other related compounds. GB004 will be investigated as a potential therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. Unlike other HIF stabilizers, Gossamer said that GBOOR “preferentially” stabilizes HIF-1 alpha. In animal models of IBD, GB004 has had “profound anti-inflammatory and mucosal wound healing effects,” Gossamer said last month when it struck the deal with Aerpio.
Not only did the Series B funding round provide some needed capital for Gossamer, but also allowed the company to shore up its leadership team. Gossamer said Sheila Gujrathi, the company’s co-founder and current chief operating officer, has been named chief executive officer. Co-Founder Faheem Hasnain, who was the most recent CEO, will become full-time executive chairman of the board of directors, the company said.
Gujrathi said she is “honored” to lead Gossamer through its next phase of growth.
“This significant financing from a committed, knowledgeable, and sophisticated investor syndicate positions us well to continue development of our programs. With Faheem’s continued partnership, we look forward to creating value for investors while helping patients who are suffering,” Gujrathi said in a statement.
The transition of Gujrathi and Hasnain aren’t the only leadership moves Gossamer has made in recent months. In April, Gossamer named Bryan Giraudo as its chief financial officer. Prior to his time with Gossamer, Giraudo was senior managing director of Leerink Partners, overseeing that company’s life sciences investment banking practices for Western North America and Asia.