Eli Casdin and Keith Meister dive back into the SPAC well with $480M haul just weeks after SomaLogic reverse merger
Wall Street’s SPAC attack continued Wednesday, with two more high-profile blank check companies pricing their IPOs.
Eli Casdin and Keith Meister’s third SPAC hopped to Nasdaq with a massive $480 million haul, and Oleg Nodelman’s second holding company debuted with a $150 million raise. Both SPACs signal that the blank check field in 2021, which eclipsed all of last year’s total SPAC raise across the financial sector within the first quarter, remains at full steam ahead.
The Casdin and Meister effort, known as CM Life Sciences III, comes just a few weeks after their second SPAC announced its intent to merge with SomaLogic, one of a number of proteomics biotechs looking to understand the human body by looking at proteins rather than DNA and RNA. That deal netted the company a valuation north of $1.2 billion.
Going public through the quicker SPAC route allowed SomaLogic to “double down” on its strategy of both collecting proteomic data and creating applications for clinical trials using that data, CEO Roy Smythe told Endpoints News at the time.
Casdin and Meister have gone all in on SPACs since last summer. We’re still only seven months out from the announcement of their first SPAC back in September, which at the time marked one of the biggest blank-check targets ever at $385 million. Its haul swelled to $450 million when the reverse merger with Sema4 was announced in February.
Shortly afterward, the second CM Life Sciences SPAC made its splash too, pricing the same month as the Sema4 deal and quickly becoming SomaLogic’s vehicle to Nasdaq.
For Nodelman’s team, Panacea II is the second blank check company to go public since his Ecor1 firm launched its first in June 2020. The shell found a partner quite quickly, agreeing to take David Hung’s Nuvation Bio public last October, with the pair completing their merger in February.
Among the prominent SPACs that have filed or merged so far in 2021 include Foresite and Perceptive, who both announced their latest SPACs in early February. Others like Khosla Ventures and Eduardo Bravo also joined the party with SPACs of their own.
Then, Rajiv Shukla — one of the first investors to hop on board the biotech SPAC train — launched his third such company. Shukla took his first SPAC public back in 2017 before the current groundswell of blank check companies.
To top it all off is Richard Branson’s SPAC announcing its merger with diagnostics and ancestry company 23andMe, an effort that would be used to further the firm’s drug development business after it partnered with GSK in 2018 for $300 million.
Wednesday’s new SPACs come shortly after the SEC opened an inquiry into how Wall Street banks are managing their risks in the blank check deals, asking financial institutions to voluntarily provide information about how they’re internally policing SPACs.