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First day of trading is a gut check for Kaleido

Alison Lawton is chief executive of Lexington’s Kaleido Biosciences.Kaleido Biosciences

Kaleido Biosciences began trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange Thursday at a lower share price than the Lexington biotech initially planned, and the stock closed even lower as it joined the ranks of publicly traded drug companies.

Kaleido, part of a wave of biotechs hoping to treat diseases by targeting gut chemistry, had priced 5 million shares in the initial public offering at $15 a share. But the stock lost more than 5 percent of its value, closing at $14.23.

The biotech had at first sought to raise $100 million by offering about 4.8 million shares at a price range of $20 to $22 when the IPO terms were announced on Feb. 19. But the company cut the price this week and decided to sell more shares.
Founded in 2015 by the Cambridge venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering, Kaleido is among a growing number of biotechs hoping to make medicines based on fresh insights about the trillions of bacteria, fungi, and microbes that live inside and on our bodies.

More than 150 drugmakers globally are working on potential medicines for various disorders that could be linked to the so-called human microbiome, according to experts in the field. Together, they have invested more than $2 billion in research.


Kaleido wants to use the money it raises in the IPO to begin mid-stage clinical trials of a drug that would treat urea cycle disorders by changing the microbiome. These disorders make it hard for the body to remove waste products.

“We are excited to join Nasdaq as we continue to work to translate the promise of the microbiome into solutions for patients,” said Alison Lawton, chief executive of Kaleido. “We are pleased with the support we received from many new investors and existing shareholders in our IPO, and have significant resources to advance our pipeline” of drug candidates.


Unlike other biotechs that seek to deploy “live bugs” that might work together to treat disorders, Kaleido is working on a synthetic compound to change the function of the microbiome.

Lawton, a native of England who joined Genzyme Corp. in 1991 and spent 23 years there — including after it was bought by French drug giant Sanofi — succeeded Michael Bonney as CEO in August. Bonney, another biopharmaceutical veteran, ran Kaleido for 11 months and now serves as executive chairman of the board of directors.

Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at