Gemini's Disc(ontinuation)

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
Project Mechanism Source Clinical trial
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.

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