Gemini axes CSO and 20% of staff to focus on late-phase plans

Gemini Therapeutics is betting it all on its clinical-phase eye disease prospect. Having built up early-stage activities in gene therapy and other areas, Gemini is now sweeping those programs aside to focus on the lead program.

In June, Gemini shared initial phase 2a data on its recombinant human complement factor H (CFH) GEM103 in patients with geographic atrophy secondary to dry age-related macular degeneration. The study linked GEM103 to increased levels of CFH and changes in biomarkers of complement activation, leading Gemini to start talking about its plans for a late-stage clinical trial. 

With the early data in hand, Gemini has decided the $167.5 million in cash that it had at the end of June is best spent on “GEM103’s resource-intensive pivotal trial in geographic atrophy.” The focus on the development-stage asset has come at the expense of Gemini’s research activities.

“We are shifting Gemini’s focus from a research and development organization to exclusively become a development-stage company,” Gemini CEO Jason Meyenburg said in a statement. “We are planning to initiate a controlled study of GEM103 in GA in early-2022, and are currently engaging with regulators regarding the design of our late-stage clinical development program.”

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While it is full steam ahead for GEM103, other programs and the people working on them are taking a hit. Gemini is stopping all its research and nonclinical programs, including work on gene therapies and translational research on complement factors. The shift in focus is set to cost Gemini employees their jobs.

Gemini expects its year-end headcount to come in 20% below its previously planned level. The changes include the elimination of the posts of chief scientific officer and chief people officer, which are currently held by Walter Strapps, Ph.D., and Precillia Redmond, respectively. Other changes include the promotion of Avner Ingerman to the post of chief development officer.