Gilead tested an antibody many times. Āshibio salvages it, with $40M and ‘conviction’ elsewhere

Gilead had tested a humanized antibody called andecaliximab, or GS-5745, in close to 1,000 patients before giving up on it a few years ago. The company had multiple mid- and late-stage attempts in various cancers, autoimmune disorders and cystic fibrosis.

Now, a nimble Brisbane, CA biotech named āshibio is emerging with $40 million in seed and Series A funds to salvage the MMP-9 inhibitor and take it into a different indication: the ultra-rare bone disorder known as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP).

The genetic disease, which usually begins in childhood, leads to abnormal bone formation across muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues. FOP impacts an estimated 4,000 people globally, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

Steering the biotech is a former Gilead oncology leader, Pankaj Bhargava, who is also a partner at…
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