Gelesis, a biotech company focused on developing weight loss products, has raised about $22 million in equity funding. The investors were not named. Also, the company has added Meghan Fitzgerald and Robert Forrester to its board of directors. Fitzgerald is the executive vice president of strategy, M&A, and health policy at Cardinal Health while Forrester is the CEO of Verastem.
BOSTON, March 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Gelesis, a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of first-in-class products to induce weight loss and improve glycemic control, announced today that it closed an equity financing of shares of convertible preferred stock for gross proceeds of approximately $22 million, including the conversion of approximately $4 million of outstanding convertible promissory notes. Proceeds from the financing will be used to support the continued clinical development of its lead product, Gelesis100, as well as advancing its pipeline product, Gelesis 200, into the clinic.
“We’re pleased to receive this new round of financing to advance our products towards commercialization,” said Yishai Zohar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gelesis, “We appreciate the support from our new and existing investors in our mission to address the growing obesity and diabetes epidemics.”
In the first quarter, Gelesis added three leading experts in the treatment of obesity and its related comorbidities to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB): Louis J. Aronne, MD, FACP, the Sanford I. Weill Professor of Metabolic Research at Weill-Cornell Medical College, Ken Fujioka, MD, Director of the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center and the Center for Weight Management at the Scripps Clinic, and Angelo Tremblay, PhD, Professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at Laval University in Quebec City.
Gelesis also announced the appointment of two new directors, Meghan Fitzgerald and Robert Forrester, who bring additional commercialization and finance expertise to its Board. Ms. Fitzgerald is the EVP of Strategy, M&A, and Health Policy and an Executive Committee Member at Cardinal Health, a Fortune 22 company. She has previously held senior positions at Medco Health Solutions, Inc., Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals, Merck and Sanofi. Mr. Forrester is the CEO of Verastem (NASDAQ: VSTM), and brings to the board 14 years of experience as CEO, COO, and CFO at both private and public life sciences companies, including Forma Therapeutics, CombinatoRx and Coley (acquired by Pfizer).
Gelesis100 is an orally administered capsule containing small hydrogel particles designed to employ multiple mechanisms of action along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to induce weight loss and improve glycemic control. The hydrogel particles are synthesized through our multi-step, proprietary process using starting materials which are considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and commonly used in the food industry. Gelesis100 capsules are taken with water prior to a meal, after which the hydrogel particles are released from the capsules in the stomach and rapidly absorb water, hydrating to approximately 100 times their original size. The hydrogel particles mix homogeneously with food and travel through the GI tract, inducing satiety and improving glycemic control. Once in the large intestine, the particles release most of the water, which is reabsorbed by the body. The microscopic degraded particles are then safely eliminated by the body in the same manner as food.
Gelesis has completed its 3 month proof of concept study, a 128-patient, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, clinical trial for Gelesis100 that demonstrated statistically significant weight loss and improvement of glycemic parameters in overweight and obese patients, including prediabetics. Gelesis has recently initiated a 6 month proof of concept study to assess the effect of Gelesis100 on body weight and glycemic control.
Gelesis is a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of novel therapies to induce weight loss and improve glycemic control in overweight and obese patients, including those with prediabetes and diabetes. The Gelesis executive and advisory team includes some of the world’s leading experts in obesity and its related comorbidities, clinical research and development, and advanced biomaterials.