PureTech Founded Entity Gelesis Announces Partnership for Commercial Launch of Plenity® in China

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Gelesis, a biotechnology company developing a novel hydrogel platform technology to treat overweight, obesity and other chronic metabolic diseases, today announced a partnership with China Medical System Holdings Limited (CMS) (HKG:0867) for the commercialisation of Plenity in China. CMS is a well-established, innovation-driven specialty pharma company with a focus on sales and marketing in China.

The partnership will build on Gelesis’ commitment to providing patient-initiated care for adults with overweight and obesity that augments traditional healthcare provider services with digital access to care.

Through the terms of the deal, CMS will provide $35 million upfront in a combination of licensing fees and equity investment with the potential for an additional $388 million in future milestone payments as well as royalties. Plenity will complement CMS’s strong record of prescription and healthcare licensing launches in China. Among their launches are pharmaceutical drugs in the treatments of cardiovascular disease and depression.

“We see this as a great additional validation of the market potential for Plenity in different geographies. We are excited to partner with CMS and are pleased that they intend to leverage digital technologies to expand access to care,” said David Pass, Pharm.D., Gelesis’ Chief Commercial & Operating Officer. “The patient is at the centre of everything we do, and as we continue to expand geographically, that will be at the core of any partnership.”

Plenity, the first product based on Gelesis’ proprietary hydrogel technology platform, is an orally-administered, non-systemic and non-stimulant aid for weight management. It is administered in the form of capsules taken with water before lunch and dinner. The capsules release thousands of particles that rapidly absorb water in the stomach, creating small individual gel pieces with the elasticity and firmness of plant-based foods (e.g., vegetables) without caloric value. The gel contributes to a feeling of fullness and induces satiety. This novel treatment has been shown in clinical studies to be effective and well-tolerated. It was cleared by the FDA as an aid for weight management in adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25–40 kg/m², when used in conjunction with diet and exercise.  The company also received a CE mark, which enables the marketing of Plenity in Europe.

According to data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2015 Obesity Collaborators, overweight and obesity accounted for 23% and 5% of adult population in China, respectively. Limited treatment options exist there, and there is a need for more solutions with scientific evidence.

“There is a huge need but limited options for patients seeking treatment for overweight and obesity, so we are excited to be able to offer Plenity to patients in China in the future. Its highly desirable efficacy and safety profile make it an ideal choice for many patients looking for early intervention treatment for overweight,” said Dr Huaizheng Peng, General Manager of Global Investment and Operations of CMS.

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