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Months After Postponed IPO, Gelesis Nabs $31.5M And a New Investor

Xconomy Boston — 

Gelesis shied away from an IPO last year, and instead saw its owner, PureTech Health, take the leap and start trading on the stock market in London. But now the weight-loss startup has gotten the type of financial backers that signal it might be thinking of a second attempt.

Gelesis, of Boston, raised a new $31.5 million round of financing, and along with it brought in new backer Cormorant Asset Management—a “crossover” investor that backs private and public companies. Cormorant joined existing backers PureTech, Invesco Asset Management (a PureTech shareholder), and Priztker/Vlock Family Office in the latest round, which Gelesis called “growth” financing to help it get to an important milestone: In the first half of 2017, it expects to report data from a key trial of its weight-loss product known as Gelesis100.

Gelesis is expecting good results. The company said in its statement that part of the cash will go towards “commercial readiness,” or, preparing to be able to sell Gelesis100. Gelesis has now raised over $90 million since its inception nine years ago.

This type of financing typically indicates an IPO is coming, and for Gelesis, that would be a bit of déjà vu. Gelesis filed for an IPO earlier this year, but ultimately pulled the prospective offering in May. At the time, CEO Yishai Zohar told Xconomy that the board was “weighing the relative benefits of being a public company” given the company’s “strong cash position.” He later told Alex Lash that there had been enough demand to price an IPO, but “for strategic reasons we decided to wait.”

Since that time, PureTech, Gelesis’s creator and its top investor, has gotten access to a whole lot more cash. It pulled off an IPO of its own in London in June, raising $171 million to support its bevy of startups. PureTech chief financial officer Michael MacLean said in a statement this morning that since its IPO, Gelesis has “accelerated its timelines by around one year.” It’s unclear if that means a second IPO try is on the way; I’ve reached out to Gelesis this morning, and will update this piece with any comments.

Gelesis100 isn’t a typical weight-loss pill. It contains a material made from cellulose and citric acid that expands in the stomach, which is meant to make people feel full. For more on the product, and the clinical results it’s produced so far, check out these previous stories.