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FierceBiotech Names Obesity Company Gelesis to 'Fierce 15' List of Top Emerging Biotech Companies

BOSTON, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Gelesis, a Boston-based obesity company, announced today that it has been named to the FierceBiotech "Fierce 15" list, designating it as one of the top emerging biotech companies of 2010. The editors evaluated hundreds of privately-held firms based on company vision, revenue potential, quality of deals, strength of technology, partnerships, and competitive market position. Gelesis was determined to be one of the "fiercest" with its novel approach to tackling obesity.



John Carroll, FierceBiotech's Editor said "This is the first year FierceBiotech readers got a chance to directly nominate a company for the Fierce 15, and some of our most influential subscribers picked Gelesis as one of this year's most promising biotech companies in the industry."

"Gelesis has one of the most novel approaches to the complex challenge of obesity drug discovery that I have seen, both while running worldwide basic research at Merck, and subsequently in the biotech world,"  said Dr. Ben Shapiro, former Executive Vice President of Worldwide Basic and External Research at Merck and a Senior Partner at PureTech Ventures.

Obesity is the largest healthcare-related opportunity in the world, with close to two billion individuals being either overweight or obese according to the World Health Organization. No one has been successful at developing a safe and effective treatment for obesity despite the multi-billion dollar potential for such a product.  

Pharmaceutical attempts have been limited by modest efficacy and challenging safety profiles. Surgical intervention to reduce stomach volume mechanically is effective but the use of this invasive approach is limited to morbidly obese patients. Gelesis has taken an innovative biotech approach to the surgical volume reduction mechanism. The product concept involves the decrease of functional stomach and GI tract volume, with a patient swallowing capsules containing individual particles that swell to 100X their original size in the stomach environment. Delivered in a capsule, Gelesis technology was developed using safe food-grade components and was designed to work mechanically via several physiological mechanisms in the GI tract that induce satiation when one eats a full meal.  A video and animation of the Gelesis technology is available at

"Unlike other approaches, Gelesis' technology leverages the body's own physiological mechanisms to increase satiety and decrease hunger," said Yishai Zohar, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gelesis. "Creating a technology that is completely non-invasive, uses safe food-grade components, and works through validated GI-localized mechanisms, was a breakthrough that took many years of research."

The Fierce 15 celebrates the spirit of being "fierce" – championing innovation and creativity, even in the face of intense competition. FierceBiotech is the biotech industry's leading daily monitor - an email newsletter and web resource providing the latest biotech news, articles, and resources related to clinical trials, drug discovery, FDA approval and regulation, biotech company deals and more. More than 75,000 top biotech professionals rely on FierceBiotech for an insider briefing on the day's top stories. A complete list of "Fierce 15" companies is available online at

Gelesis, Inc. is a Boston-based obesity company with two programs in clinical development. Gelesis was co-founded by PureTech Ventures and a scientific advisory board of renowned obesity experts and polymer scientists that includes: James Hill MD, Professor of Medicine & Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, and Past President of The Obesity Society (TOS); Lee M. Kaplan, MD, PhD, Director of Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and a leading researcher in gastric bypass surgery; Caroline Apovian, MD, Director of the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management at Boston Medical Center and leading obesity clinician; Allan Geliebter, PhD, Senior Attending Psychologist, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, pioneer of the gastric balloon; Luigi Ambrosio PhD, Head of the Institute for Composite & Biomaterials at the University of Naples; and Stephen Woods, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Obesity Research Center at the University of Cincinnati who discovered fundamental mechanisms of satiation.

SOURCE Gelesis, Inc.
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