Gemini Therapeutics has signed a definitive agreement to merge with Disc Medicine in an all-stock deal to create a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company.

To support the merger, Disc raised funds worth $53.5m from a group of healthcare investors led by Access Biotechnology and also include OrbiMed, Atlas Venture and 5AM Ventures, among others.

The merged company is expected to be named Disc Medicine, which will have corporate headquarters in Watertown, Massachusetts, US.

It will be valued at nearly $175m in cash or cash equivalents. 

The proceeds from the business combination will be utilised to advance the pipeline of Disc to clinical trials and offer funding into 2025. 

Disc focuses on discovering and developing new therapies for patients with serious haematologic ailments.

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Following the combination, the merged business will work on progressing the haematology programmes pipeline of Disc.

They include various patient clinical trials for Disc’s programmes, bitopertin and DISC-0974, which are currently in the clinical development stage.

A GlyT1 glycine transporter inhibitor, bitopertin showed effects on heme biosynthesis in clinical trials. Last year, Disc in-licensed bitopertin from Roche.

In-licensed from AbbVie in 2019, DISC-0974 is a monoclonal antibody. It acts on hemojuvelin co-receptor and could hinder the production of hepcidin and boost serum iron levels in individuals with anaemia or inflammation. 

Disc also has a research programme which can detect orally available small molecules to hinder Matriptase-2 and boost hepcidin production and hinder iron availability. 

Present Disc Medicine CEO and president John Quisel will lead the merged company along with other management team members.

Gemini and Disc Medicine’s board of directors have granted unanimous approval for the deal.

Quisel said: “In the last few months, we have initiated clinical studies in patients for both bitopertin and DISC-0974 and presented first-in-human data from DISC-0974, our hepcidin suppression programme, establishing clinical proof-of-mechanism.

“This transaction will provide us with tremendous financial strength, propel several programmes through a series of data catalysts and enable us to explore the full potential of our pipeline.”

Subject to necessary conditions and approvals, the deal is anticipated to conclude in the fourth quarter of this year.