Gyroscope spins the wheel again as it taps Sanofi for $60M months after ditching IPO attempt

The biotech IPO window, at the start of the year at least, was wide open, leaving more than a few people scratching their heads when eye disease biotech Gyroscope Therapeutics said back in May it was ditching its plans because of “market conditions.”

It had, in fact, just come off a major $148 million raise just two months before, and mulled that $100 million IPO to bankroll its pipeline of ocular gene therapies.

When that was swiftly canned, things went a little quiet for the U.K.-based company on the financial side, with musings from some analysts that the news coming out in late February that a patient had gone blind in one eye in an Adverum test for a gene therapy might have spooked some from a public offering.

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But it hasn’t seemed to have alarmed Sanofi, which is now backing the biotech with a $60 million investment injection.

Breaking it down, the French Big Pharma coughs up $40 million now—at a premium to Gyroscope’s prior series C financing—and is on the hook for another $20 million, which, according to a statement, is based on “a future qualifying investment round and subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions.”

The focus of the cash boost, and Sanofi’s interest, is the biotech’s leading investigational gene therapy, GT005, which is in early- to midstage testing for geographic atrophy, a cause of vision loss for more than 5 million people globally.

Under the funding, Sanofi also grabs an exclusive right of first refusal on “certain potential future transactions” for GT005 in “select geographies,” though neither gave more details here.

“Gyroscope’s ambition to develop gene therapies to treat geographic atrophy, a life-altering eye disease that has no approved treatments, aligns with our mission and our focus on pushing frontiers in genomic medicine,” said Christian Mueller, Ph.D., vice president and global head of genomic medicine at Sanofi.

“We are excited to be part of the Gyroscope story as they advance their promising investigational gene therapy, GT005, forward in clinical development.”