Gene therapy biotech Gyroscope finds unnavigable seas on IPO market

Gyroscope Therapeutics has shelved a planned IPO due to 'market conditions,' according to CEO Khurem Farooq. (Pixabay)

Gyroscope Therapeutics has taken a spin around the IPO market, only to find there is no path forward to reach the Nasdaq at this time.

The clinical-stage gene therapy company that focuses on eye diseases filed for an IPO hoping to raise $100 million just under three weeks ago. But in a release issued today, Gyroscope said the IPO would be postponed, which CEO Khurem Farooq blamed on “market conditions.”

“Based on the positive feedback we have received from institutional investors on the strength of our science and investigational gene therapies, we believe it’s in the best interest of our existing shareholders and employees to execute our IPO in more favorable market conditions,” Farooq said. “In the meantime, we are continuing to advance our clinical program for our investigational gene therapy, GT005, as well as our earlier stage pipeline."

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The market for biotech IPOs has, in fact, been hot over the past year, with dozens of companies filing to go public and some emerging onto the Nasdaq with over-subscribed offerings.

Werewolf Therapeutics, seeking $100 million, nabbed $120 million in late April. Bolt Therapeutics raked in $230 million in an upsized IPO that originally aimed for $150 million in February. Sana Biotechnology quadrupled the expected target of the company’s February public debut, raising $587.5 million.

Other companies have grabbed on to the SPAC-train, riding these new special purpose acquisition companies to the market with huge deal values—see Roivant’s whopping $611 million debut on Monday.

What could be troubling Gyroscope is the announcement in late February that a patient had gone blind in one eye in an Adverum Biotechnologies’ clinical trial for a gene therapy; here, it was treating patients with diabetic macular edema. Adverum’s shares plunged 51% after the trial data was issued, and may have scared off some investors at a delicate time for Gyroscope. Either way, it remained vague on specific reasons. 

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Gyroscope is also testing gene therapies for eye conditions that cause vision loss and blindness, but the company claims to take a different approach than its peers. The company’s gene therapies try to increase production of complement factor I in hopes of countering age-related macular degeneration disease pathogenesis. Gyroscope’s lead therapy GT005 has been granted fast track designation from the FDA for geographic atrophy secondary to age-related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness.

Back in March, Gyroscope collected $148 million in a series C, which management said would be used across three clinical trials. But in announcing that funding, Gyroscope also said they'd be looking for additional capital raising options this year. The IPO was announced less than a month later.