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Gelesis funding

Gelesis secures US$22 million funding for clinical studies

Gelesis will fund study for Gelesis100 and develop Gelesis200, into clinical testing

Gelesis, a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of first-in-class products to induce weight loss and improve glycaemic control, has closed an equity financing of shares of convertible preferred stock for gross proceeds of approximately US$22 million, including the conversion of approximately US$4 million of outstanding convertible promissory notes. Gelesis will use the cash to fund the trial work for its lead product, known as Gelesis100, and bring a follow-up candidate, Gelesis200, into clinical testing as well.

Gelesis100 is an orally administered capsule containing small hydrogel particles designed to employ multiple mechanisms of action along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to induce weight loss and improve glycemic control. The hydrogel particles are synthesized through our multi-step, proprietary process using starting materials which are considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA and commonly used in the food industry. Gelesis100 capsules are taken with water prior to a meal, after which the hydrogel particles are released from the capsules in the stomach and rapidly absorb water, hydrating to approximately 100 times their original size. The hydrogel particles mix homogeneously with food and travel through the GI tract, inducing satiety and improving glycemic control.

Once in the large intestine, the particles release most of the water, which is reabsorbed by the body. The microscopic degraded particles are then safely eliminated by the body in the same manner as food. Gelesis has completed its 3 month proof of concept study, a 128-patient, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, clinical trial for Gelesis100 that demonstrated statistically significant weight loss and improvement of glycaemic parameters in overweight and obese patients, including pre-diabetics. Gelesis has recently initiated a 6 month proof of concept study to assess the effect of Gelesis100 on body weight and glycaemic control.

The company has already completed a three-month proof-of-concept study for Gelesis100 in overweight and obese patients; it started a randomised, placebo-controlled, six-month trial for 168 of those patients, along with Type 2 diabetics, in November 2014. The main goal is 5 per cent weight loss over the course of the study; Gelesis is also testing how its pill affects diabetics’ blood sugar levels.

"We're pleased to receive this new round of financing to advance our products towards commercialisation,"  said Yishai Zohar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gelesis, "We appreciate the support from our new and existing investors in our mission to address the growing obesity and diabetes epidemics."

In the first quarter, Gelesis added three leading experts in the treatment of obesity and its related comorbidities to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB): Dr Louis J Aronne, the Sanford I Weill Professor of Metabolic Research at Weill-Cornell Medical College; Dr Ken Fujioka, Director of the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center and the Center for Weight Management at the Scripps Clinic; and Professor Angelo Tremblay, Professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada.

Gelesis also announced the appointment of two new directors, Meghan Fitzgerald and Robert Forrester, who bring additional commercialization and finance expertise to its Board.

Prior to this funding, the company had raised US$42 million through five separate rounds since its inception in 2006.

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