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Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen
Articles (34) 

Gossamer Aims to Be Genentech Clone

The head of the recent IPO wants to build an organization that crosses the spectrum of research to development to commercialization

February 14, 2019 | About:

The executive chairman of Gossamer Bio (NASDAQ: GOSS) has a lofty goal for the company: Be the next version of Genentech, the biotechnology giant that is now a subsidiary of Roche (OTCPK: RHHBY).

The odds are high, but Faheem Hasnain’s track record suggests he may have assembled just the team to make that dream a reality. The market seems to have faith in him. Shares of the San Diego-based company began trading on Feb. 8, opening at $19, nearly 20% above its IPO offering price of $16, before easing to $16.50. If the company comes anywhere near being the next Genentech, the share price will prove to be the biggest bargain since the purchase of Alaska.

Hasnain would like build an organization that can scale, and that crosses the spectrum of research to development to commercialization, he said in an interview published by the Shanghai-based health care company WuXi AppTec Group.

The company plans to concentrate on the areas in which it has expertise, including immunology and oncology. Hasnain said the company’s approach will be like that of a weightlifter. Of its seven to 10 research programs, about half will be on one side of the barbell. They will consist of compounds that are further along in testing and have a good chance of making it to market. They will be counterbalanced by compounds in the earlier stages of testing that have a riskier chance of success.

Gossamer currently has several research programs underway. The one showing the greatest promise is a compound designed to meet a large unmet need in immunologic disorders. If eventually approved it would be second in a substantial market. Hasnain called the compound a “disruptive technology,” with hope that it would be as effective as a biological but safer.

Gossamer has the leadership team that has shown it can do the heavy lifting. Hasnain and CEO Sheila Gujrathi founded Receptos, which was acquired by Celgene (CELG) for nearly $8 billion in 2015. After the acquisition, Hasnain had mixed feelings. Certainly he pocketed a healthy sum. But he loved what he was doing and the team he was working with. So he asked the group a question: “Hey guys, do you want to do this again?” The answer was a resounding “Yes.” A month later the team began searching for assets.

Gossamer’s approach is a bit different than that of Receptos. Hasnain said Gossamer will operate as the parent company and the technologies and assets brought in will be a wholly owned subsidiaries. “That really gives us the structural flexibility to build a sustainable company and to have the flexibility to transact at the asset level and not have to transact at the entire company level,” he emphasized.

Disclosure: The author has a position in Gossamer.

About the author:

Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen has nearly 40 years experience in communications and marketing, the majority in senior positions at large international health care companies, including Abbott Laboratories and Bayer Inc.

He has contributed to a number of financial websites, writing primarily about the stocks of health care companies.

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