Undeterred by clinical failure Gemini Therapeutics was set to continue flogging the dying horse of its complement inhibitor GEM103 in geographic atrophy. But a pivotal trial never started, and today the group did investors another favour: realising that its value lay as a shell, Gemini is being reversed into by Disc Medicine, a private US company founded by Atlas Venture in 2019. Disc’s focus lies in red blood cell biology, where mid-stage trials recently began for two lead assets, bitopertin for protoporphyria and DISC-0974 for myelofibrosis. Both are big pharma castoffs: bitopertin came from Roche, while DISC-0974 was part of Disc’s anaemia-focused licence from Abbvie. The latter has mechanistic backing, courtesy of early clinical data at this year’s EHA meeting, but bitopertin’s history is more bizarre: Roche had been developing the molecule, a GlyT1 inhibitor, for schizophrenia before it failed six phase 3 trials in 2015. Research published last year backs the repurposing of GlyT1 inhibitors for protoporphyria, but Boehringer Ingelheim continues to study the mechanism in schizophrenia, in a phase 3 trial of BI 425809 incorporating speech analytics and virtual reality. Disc’s reversal into Gemini includes a $53m financing, adding to $140m of VC cash raised earlier.
|Disc's clinical focus as a public entity|
|Bitopertin||GlyT1 Inhibitor||Roche, May 2021||Ph2 in erythropoietic protoporphyria ends Jul 2023|
|DISC-0974||anti-HJV mAb||Abbvie, Oct 2019||Ph1/2 in myelofibrosis with anaemia ends Oct 2024|
|GlyT1=glycine transporter-1; HJV=hemojuvelin. Source: company presentations.|