Gemini Therapeutics, a new precision medicine company focused on genetically-defined dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and associated rare genetic diseases, announced that it has completed a $42.5 million Series A financing to advance multiple programs into the clinic. Atlas Venture, Lightstone Ventures and OrbiMed co-led the Series A, and also invested in seed financing in 2016.
Gemini is developing first-in-class therapeutics built on the strong foundation of human genetics research in AMD, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the US and EU. Research over the last decade has uncovered genetic variants which can increase risk of developing advanced AMD by up to 20-fold, while also increasing the likelihood of systemic morbidities.
“We believe the time is right to harness genetic insights into AMD, and we’ve gathered the people, the technology and the resources necessary to lead the translational effort,” James McLaughlin, CEO, president and co-founder of Gemini Therapeutics, said in a company news release. “To build our pipeline, we focused on patients first – particularly patients with a high genetic risk profile. We assessed the functional implications of their underlying mutations. We then matched each molecular abnormality with an appropriate therapeutic candidate: a recombinant protein, a monoclonal antibody or a gene therapy.”
“Gemini’s multimodal approach allows the company to pursue some of the most compelling targets in the complement system – regulatory proteins – and help patients with a spectrum of loss-of-function mutations which are closely linked to the risk of AMD and rare complement-mediated diseases,” said Steve Squinto, Ph.D., Gemini Board Member.
Gemini’s discovery and development efforts are powered by partnerships and exclusive technology from leading research institutions including the University of Edinburgh, Newcastle University (UK), and the Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation in the Netherlands, as well as innovative companies including StrideBio, Inc.
“Over the last 18 months, we’ve advanced multiple product candidates through the R&D process,” Scott Lauder, PhD, senior vice president of process development and manufacturing at Gemini, said in a news release. “In addition to our internal science team, academic collaborations have been critical to our early R&D progress.”
Team, Founders, Advisors and Board
Gemini scientists work closely with an interdisciplinary group of experts.
The company’s scientific founders include the University of Edinburgh’s Paul Barlow, PhD, and Andy Herbert, PhD, and Tufts University’s Johanna Seddon, MD, M.Sc.
Gemini’s scientific advisory board is comprised of:
- Retinal disease and AMD experts including, Alan Wright, PhD, MB ChB, from the University of Edinburgh, Napoleone Ferrara, MD, from the University of California San Diego, Dean Bok, PhD, from University of California Los Angeles, and Bruce Jaffee, PhD.
- Target Biology experts including John Atkinson, MD, from Washington University in St. Louis, Michael Ehrmann, PhD, from the University of Essen-Duisberg, Kevin Marchbank, PhD, and Claire Harris, PhD, from Newcastle University, and Simon Clark, PhD, from the University of Manchester
- Gene Therapy experts including Shannon Boye, PhD, from the University of Florida, Aravind Asokan, PhD, from the University of North Carolina, and Chris Mueller, PhD, M.Sc., and Claudio Punzo, PhD, from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
In addition to Mr. McLaughlin, Gemini’s board of directors includes leading life science investors and biotech leaders:
- Jean George, General Partner at Lightstone Ventures
- Carl Gordon, PhD, CFA, General Partner at OrbiMed Advisors
- Phil Reilly, MD, JD, Independent Board Member and Venture Partner at Third Rock Ventures
- Jason Rhodes, General Partner at Atlas Venture
- Steve Squinto, PhD, Independent Board Member and Venture Partner at OrbiMed Advisors