Gossamer Bio, a new San Diego-based startup, just announced the closing of a series B funding round which garnered $230 million for furthering its research according to Healthcare Weekly. What Gossamer is working on is a very well-kept secret, though; all information about the company is sketchy, at best.
The company’s website vaguely describes four programs at varying stages of preclinical and clinical development, with its lead candidate in phase 2 with “additional indication(s) planned” and targets “to be disclosed.”
Only information about an HIF-1 alpha stabilizer seems to be a bit more available since it is aimed at a subunit of hypoxia-inducible factor. It is listed on the website as being in phase 1 development for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases.
This stabilizer is the subject of a recent licensing deal with Aerpio Pharmaceuticals, might be the reason why anything has been disclosed about this one particular compound.
“The Gossamer team has a demonstrated track record of successful therapeutic development in IBD, specifically the development of ozanimod in multiple sclerosis and IBD, as evidenced by the sale of Receptos to Celgene in 2015 for $7.2 billion,” Aerpio CEO Stephen Hoffman, M.D., said about the deal and its partner.
The rest of the research remains secret; both Gossamer and the investors are keeping things quiet. Speaking of the investors, there have been some new additions to the Gossamer back-up team for this round.
Codrin Arsene is the CEO of Digital Authority Partners, a Chicago-based digital strategy & design agency working closely with companies in healthcare. According to Healthcare Weekly, he thinks the secrecy around Gossamer’s product lines is very common:
“It’s actually not that uncommon for pharma companies to avoid sharing details about their product lines. Usually, this is caused by the fact that the company itself is not allowed to talk publicly due to government rules regarding outstanding medical trials that require FDA approval. Those regulations are usually put in place to protect potential investors. In other words, a pharma company is often restricted from what public statements it can make before the FDA approves or rejects a drug that is currently under review. So it’s actually not that surprising for pharma companies to stay completely silent at this stage.”
Hillhouse Capital led the funding round for Gossamer, closing it with a statement about how much this funding means to them. Prior Gossamer investors, ARCH Venture Partners and Omega Funds were present, as were newcomers Invus, The Baupost Group, Polaris Partners and a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
There is no way to know exactly how Gossamer is going to perform.
However, if a serious problem in health care involves predicting what illnesses and diseases will become major problems in the near future, there is no difficulty in predicting that Gossamer might live up to industry expectations, especially if we look at its executive team’s past to better understand its future.