René Russo and Laura Walker’s Adagio Therapeutics goes public while Clare Terlouw sees a LifeArc portfolio company go public
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing August 9, 2021
Clare Terlouw sees a LifeArc portfolio company go public
LifeArc, whose venture arm is headed by Clare Terlouw, sees a company it backed earlier this year go public – a company co-founded by Valerie Morisset. Eliem Therapeutics, Inc. raised $80 million by pricing 6.4 million shares at $12.50 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol ELYM.
Based in Redmond, Wash., Eliem is seeking to develop and commercialize therapies treating neuronal excitability disorders such as chronic pain, depression, epilepsy and anxiety. Valerie founded Eliem with Bob Azelby, who is president and CEO. Valerie serves as executive vice president, R&D and chief scientific officer. She is also a senior advisor to Bridge Valley Ventures. Previously, Valerie was head of biology and translational medicine with Convergence Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.
Eliem’s board includes Judith Dunn, president of research and development at Fulcrum Therapeutics, and Leone Patterson, president and chief financial officer at Adverum Biotechnologies. RA Capital owned 51.9 percent prior to the offering, while Access Biotechnology owned 21.9 percent, Intermediate Capital Group had 8.4 percent and LifeArc held 7.6 percent.
LifeArc is a self-funded medical research charity whose CEO is Melanie Lee. Clare joined LifeArc last year after serving as head of corporate development for Syncona Investment Management, Ltd. In May, LifeArc participated in Eliem’s $60 million Series B round. That round came just two months after it launched with an $80 million round.
Bihua Chen’s Cormorant Asset Management has another portfolio company set to go public
Cormorant Asset Management, which is led by Bihua Chen, has another portfolio company set to go public – this one co-founded by Marta Ortega-Valle. GreenLight Biosciences, Inc. has agreed to merge with a special purpose acquisition company – Environmental Impact Acquisition Corp. – and in turn become publicly traded. The deal would value GreenLight at $1.2 billion and provide it with proceeds of $282 million, which includes $105 million from a PIPE financing. Cormorant is among those who would take part in that financing. Cormorant invested in the $102 million Series D round that GreenLight did in 2020. Other investors in that round included Morningside Venture Partners, Continental Grain Company, Fall Line Capital, Tao Capital Partners, Baird Capital, MLS Capital Fund II, Lewis and Clark Ventures and Lupa Systems. All investors will roll their equity into the publicly traded company.
Based in Medford, Mass., GreenLight develops sustainable solutions to address such significant issues as public health crises and creating environmentally friendly food production. Marta, who is chief business officer, human health, founded the company with Andrey Zarur, who is CEO. GreenLight’s board includes Martha Schlicher, who is an entrepreneur in residence at BioGenerator.
Cormorant has had at least one other portfolio company merge with a SPAC this year, Tango Therapeutics, whose CEO is Dr. Barbara Weber. It just completed its merger and is now traded on Nasdaq under the symbol TNGX.
Cormorant has also had at least 19 other companies go public this year through traditional IPOs. They are: Icosavax, Inc.; Immuneering Corp.; Erasca; GH Research; Monte Rosa Therapeutics; Elevation Oncology; Aerovate Therapeutics, Inc.; Verve Therapeutics; Centessa Pharmaceuticals; Rain Therapeutics, Inc.; VectivBio Holding; Biomea Fusion; Prometheus Biosciences, Inc.; Design Therapeutics; Edgewise Therapeutics; Ambrx, Inc.; Pharvaris, which Anne Lesage co-founded; Graphite Bio, whose scientific co-founders include Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo; and Talaris Therapeutics, Inc., which was founded by Dr. Suzanne Ildstad. The firm also has one company in registration to go public: Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc.
A SPAC led by chairman Betsy Cohen and CEO Amanda Abrams has found a company to combine with and bring public
A special purpose acquisition company led by chairman Betsy Z. Cohen and CEO Amanda Abrams has found a company to combine with and bring public. FTAC Athena Acquisition Corp., which went public earlier this year, has agreed to merge with Pico, a New York-based provider of technology solutions for the global financial market. The deal values Pico at $1.8 billion and will provide it with $450 million in proceeds. It would trade on Nasdaq after the merger is complete with existing investors retaining approximately 72 percent. Pico has been backed by such entities as Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, UBS, Nomura, DRW Venture Capital, CE Innovation Capital and EDBI.
Pico’s platform of cloud, data and analytics powers mission critical applications for more than 400 financial institutions.
FTAC’s board included Daniela Mielke, managing partner of Commerce Technology Advisors, LLC; Jewelle Bickford, a former partner at Evercore Wealth Management; Leah Popowich, who is assistant vice president and deputy chief of staff in the office of the president at the University of Pennsylvania; and Mei-Mei Tuan, co-founder and co-owner, managing partner and chairman of Notch Partners, LLC.
Amanda is also CEO of FinTech Masala, LLC, the parent company of the sponsor of four other FinTech SPACs. She also serves as a managing director at Cohen & Co., Inc., a publicly traded financial services company.
Also this year, three other SPACs that Betsy chairs disclosed merger agreements. FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp., combined with Payoneer, Inc., Fintech Acquisition Corp. V agreed to merge with eToro Group, Ltd. and FinTech Acquisition Corp. IV combined with Perella Weinberg Partners. Three others SPAC that Betsy chairs, FinTech Acquisition Corp. VI, FTAC Parnassus Acquisition Corp. and FTAC Hera Acquisition Corp., have gone public this year, and three earlier SPACS that Betsy was involved with – FinTech I, FinTech II and Fintech III – all have previously combined with private companies.
René Russo and Laura Walker’s Adagio Therapeutics goes public
A company co-founded by René Russo and Laura Walker to advance a portfolio of coronavirus antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 has gone public. Adagio Therapeutics, Inc. raised $309 million by offering 18.2 million shares at $17 a share. It is now traded on Nasdaq under the symbol ADGI.
René and Laura founded Adagio with Tillman Gerngross, who is the company’s CEO, and was its largest shareholder prior to the offering holding 30.8 percent. Laura is Adagio’s chief scientific officer, while René chairs the company’s board. Fidelity Management and Research Company owned 11 percent while Mithril Capital held 10.2 percent, Polaris Partners had 8.9 percent and GV 6.3 percent. In 2020, the Waltham, Mass. company launched and raised $130 million in two rounds of financing from a group that also included Population Health Partners, Omega Funds and OrbiMed.
Adagio was spun-out of Adimab, LLC. The company’s broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies bind to a highly conserved epitope on the spike protein of multiple coronaviruses thereby reducing the potential risk of viral escape. Adagio said the antibodies have been engineered to maximize potency, with the goal of offering significant therapeutic benefit, as well as protection for multiple months following a single dose injection. The company expects the capital to enable the advancement of lead development candidates through IND-enabling studies and into early clinical development.
A portfolio company of Astia Angels, Golden Seeds and Portfolia files to go public
A portfolio company of women-focused investment organizations Astia Angels, Golden Seeds and Portfolia, Inc. files to go public – a medical device company tackling chronic sinus pain co-founded and led by Jennifer Ernst. Tivic Health Systems, Inc. will seek to raise $16 million and list under the symbol TIVC. According to the filing, Astia owns 3.6 percent prior to the offering, Golden Seeds 3 percent and Potfolia’s holdings were not broken out. Jennifer owns 25.2 percent while John Claude, a former director, holds 25.4 percent. Sand Hill Angels holds 3.9 percent. Tivic also raised capital from such entities as Sierra Angels, Lateral Capital and Skylight Investment. Tivic’s board includes Sheryle Bolton, a serial technology entrepreneur and former CEO, and Karen Drexler, the former CEO of Sandstone Diagnostics, Inc.
Based in Newark, Calif., Tivic is commercializing a bioelectronic device for sinus and nasal inflammation. At present, the most recommended treatment for those experiencing recurring sinus pain is daily flushing of the nose with salt water. Tivic has received FDA clearance for a method that does not involve flushes, sprays or pills. Called ClearUP Sinus Relief, the device is available without a prescription. The company booked $1 million in sales for the 12 months ended March 31.
Falguni Nayar’s Nykaa files to go public
Nykaa, an Indian producer of beauty products that Falguni Nayar founded after leaving investment banking, has filed to go public. According to published reports, Nykaa will seek to raise $500 million and will likely be valued at more than $4 billion.
Based in Mumbai, India, Nykaa sells skincare, hair care, fragrances, bath and body, and luxury products for both women and men. It has more than 1,200 products listed on its website and also has 73 physical stores in 38 cities in India.
Falguni, who is CEO, started the company in 2012 after being a managing director at Kotak Mahindra Capital. It has previously raised capital from such firms as TPG Growth, Lighthouse and Warburg Pincus.
A portfolio company of Maven Capital Partners’ Stella Panu goes public
A company that Maven Capital Partners’ Stella Panu led the U.K. private equity firm into has gone public. GENinCode went public on the UK’s AIM exchange, raising 17 million pounds. It was valued at 42.2 million pounds after the offering.
GENinCode created a genetic testing business specializing in the risk assessment and prediction of cardiovascular disease. The company has developed a range of DNA risk assessment products that utilize artificial intelligence, bioinformatics and a clinical evidence base to provide predictive analysis of a patient’s health risk.
In 2020, Maven led GENinCode’s 3.4-million-pound round by investing 1.5 million pounds. Maven also recently invested an additional 500,000 pounds to support its IPO. In a statement, Stella said, “our latest funding package for GENinCode underlines Maven’s policy of sustaining support for our portfolio companies beyond our initial investment. Our investee companies come in many forms, but we are particularly keen to support tech-enabled growth businesses whose innovations offer solutions and improve lives. From that point of view, GENinCode is an incredibly exciting business to be involved with, and we look forward to supporting the management team further on their journey.”
Stella, a partner, was a part of the team that in 2009 spun Maven out of Aberdeen Asset Management. She had joined Aberdeen in 2005 after being a corporate finance executive at Seymour Pierce.
General Atlantic portfolio company European Wax Center goes public
Alexa Bartlett, a vice president with General Atlantic, is on the board of a firm portfolio company that has gone public – a company that Mei Shi was involved in leading General Atlantic into. European Wax Center raised $180 million by offering 10.6 million shares at $17 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol EWCZ.
Based in Hallandale, Fla., European Wax Center is a franchisor and operator of out-of-home waxing services. It has centers in 808 locations – 803 of which are franchised – in 44 states. For the 12 months ended March 31, it generated $107 million in revenue.
General Atlantic made an undisclosed strategic investment in the summer of 2018. Following that investment, Mei joined the company’s board. She served on the board until last year when she left General Atlantic to become a vice president with Francisco Partners. Alexa has been on EWC’s board since last year. She joined General Atlantic last year after being a vice president at Warburg Pincus. EWC’s board also includes Laurie Ann Goldman, who was most recently CEO of Avon North America.
Melanie Nallicheri and Dr. Sandra Horning’s EQRx is poised to go public
EQRx, Inc., whose co-founders include soon-to-be CEO Melanie Nallicheri and Dr. Sandra Horning, is poised to go public. The Cambridge, Mass. medicine development company has agreed to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, CM Life Sciences III, in a transaction that would value it at $3.7 billion. The merger will also provide it with $1.8 billion in cash proceeds. Once the transaction is done, EQRx will trade on Nasdaq under the symbol EQRX.
EQRx, which is seeking to develop and deliver new medicines at lower prices, has raised $750 million since launching in early 2020, including a $500 million Series B round earlier this year. Its investors have included GV, ARCH Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Casdin Capital, Section 32, Nextech and Arboretum Ventures. All of them are rolling their equity into the new publicly traded company.
EQRx is building a pipeline of drug candidates to address diseases like cancer and inflammatory conditions. By utilizing proven druggable targets, focusing on efficiency and forging strategic partnerships with health systems and payors, EQRx is seeking to increase its regulatory success and lower the cost of drug development.
Melanie, who has served as president and chief operating officer, will become CEO as of Sept. 1. One of the company’s other co-founders, Alexis Borisy, will give up the CEO role but will remain chairman. Melanie previously held executive positions with Foundation Medicine, McKesson and Geron Corp. Melanie and Sandy will be on the board of the public traded company as will Dr. Amy Abernethy, president of Verily’s clinical research programs, and most recently principal deputy commissioner of the FDA.
Weber is now grilling on the NYSE
Weber, Inc., whose board is chaired by BDT & Company’s Kelly Rainko, is now grilling on the New York Stock Exchange. The outdoor grill maker raised $250 million by offering 17.9 million shares at $14 a share and is listed under the symbol WEBR. Based in Palatine, Ill., Weber reported net income of $89 million on revenue of $1.5 billion in 2020.
Kelly has served on Weber’s board since 2010. She is a partner with BDT which she joined at its founding in 2009. Kelly is also a director of Peet’s Coffee and Caribou Coffee and a board member of SAFE Project. Weber’s board also includes Melinda Rich, who is vice chairman of Rich Products Corp.