Gemphire slashes price, gets $30M IPO done to pursue dyslipidemia

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Gemphire Therapeutics ($GEMP) managed to get its IPO out in the dog days of summer. But it languished several weeks and then had to cut its pricing expectations. The company expects to use the $30 million it has raised for late-stage testing of its gemcabene in a trio of dyslipidemia disorders.

The drug was in-licensed from Pfizer in April 2011 by a pair of the pharma’s execs: Gemphire CSO Dr. Charles Bisgaier and Chief Legal Officer David Lowenschuss. Both joined Pfizer when it acquired Esperion in 2003 for $1.3 billion; the company was subsequently spun back out under a 2008 restructuring of the pharma. Gemphire was formed around the drug in 2014.

The Northville, MI-based company had originally planned to raise $45 million, but slashed that to $30 million. It reduced the share price to $10 from a range of $11 to $13, and it lowered the number of shares sold to 3 million from an anticipated 3.75 million.

The company will use the cash to advance gemcabene into late-stage testing by year end in homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, hypercholesterolemia and severe hypertriglyceridemia.

In Phase II testing, hypercholesterolemia patients treated with gemcabene had significantly lowered LDL-C, down about 30% from baseline. It also significantly lowered high-sensitivity C-reactive protein by about 40% from baseline.

In combination with stable statin therapy, gemcabene was able to reduce LDL-C by another 25% to 31% from baseline. Gemphire believes this may mean the treatment is useful for the large population that can’t reach their lipid goal with statins or other prescriptions.

Gemphire had only $1.6 million in cash at March 31 with a net loss of $2.3 million during the first quarter.

Each of the pair of founders, along with Pfizer, were the company’s largest pre-IPO shareholders with more than 10% held. Existing shareholders committed to buying up to $10 million, or one-third, of the IPO.

- here is the release

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