Gemini Axes 80% of Workforce, Names Interim CEO, in Restructuring
Gemini Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharma company dedicated to developing treatments for genetically defined age-related macular degeneration (AMD), announced a series of corporate updates Monday. Among these is a corporate restructuring that will see a drastic 80% of the company's workforce laid off.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company has seemingly been struggling for a while. When Gemini announced its Q2 financial updates in August 2021, it showed a net loss of $16.4 million, compared to a net loss of $6.8 million during Q2 2020.
The company chalked up the losses to an increase in operating expenses, which were $5.5 million for the quarter (compared to only $1.1 million for the same quarter in 2020). Gemini said the increased expenses were due to becoming a public company and from increasing headcount.
After such dismal updates, it wasn't a surprise when Gemini announced it was cutting 20% of its staff in October 2021. In the press release, the company said it was reducing its research and non-clinical programs to better focus on GEM103, a precision medicine for geographic atrophy secondary to dry AMD. Gemini called the pivotal clinical trial of GEM103 "resource-intensive."
And resource-intensive it must have been because a week later, Gemini began offering inducement grants to purchase more than 217,000 shares of the company's common stock under NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4).
By the time 2021's Q3 financial report came around in November, Gemini's net losses were $18.6 million, and operating expenses were $5.0 million.
Still, the company had a few rays of hope. Its ongoing Phase IIa, multi-center study of GEM103 was going well. At the AAO meeting in November 2021, Gemini presented GEM103 study data which showed the drug was well-tolerated across 510 intravitreal injections with no ocular serious adverse events. The company also still had $150.1 million in cash assets.
But the losses kept coming, and now Gemini is cutting 24 of its employees—around 80% of its remaining workforce. The company said these layoffs are designed to keep it focused on developing GEM307, a new antibody for human complement factor H protein, a protein essential for retinal health. Gemini plans to continue working on clinical development for GEM307.
The corporate update included other announcements related to restructuring. Jason Meyenburg, the CEO, president and director of Gemini, is stepping down, although he will remain an advisor to the company. Meyenberg will be succeeded by Georges Gemayel, Ph.D., as interim president and CEO. Gemayel was appointed as Gemini's chair of the board of directors in May 2021.
Gemayel, who has more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, had expressed excitement in joining the company.
"Gemini has a very exciting approach to treat dry AMD that could bring to the market a best-in-class product," he had said when he was appointed as chair.
Now that Gemayel will be serving as interim CEO and president, he said he is evaluating "strategic alternatives." Gemini has not set a timeline for these alternatives, and the company says it will not offer further comments until the board of directors has decided which route they will pursue.
"We have decided to reduce the Company's operations to preserve financial resources until the strategic evaluation process concludes," Gemayel said.