Human Longevity makes a move toward Nasdaq with potential SPAC deal, but nothing's final yet
Anti-aging company Human Longevity, founded by pioneering genomic researcher Craig Venter, is one step closer, potentially, to becoming a public company.
The startup put out a press release Monday afternoon saying it has signed a “letter of intent” to reverse merge with a SPAC run by former Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, known as Freedom Acquisition I Corp. If none of the SPAC investors redeem their shares and pull out at the float price of $10, Human Longevity will receive $345 million.
Venter’s former company made sure to emphasize that Monday’s announcement was far from a done deal, however. Human Longevity made several mentions in its release that there is no “assurance” the deal will go through. The entities also did not file an SEC report, typically the standard when announcing a SPAC deal.
If the merger does take place, it will likely occur in the third quarter this year and close in the first quarter of 2023, the companies said. There was no information on a potential PIPE financing.
The Financial Times was the first to report that Venter and Thiam’s companies were in SPAC merger discussions.
Human Longevity got started back in 2013 and offers genomic sequencing and blood tests to clients, offering personalized methods to fight aging-related diseases. The company soon found itself in a tumultuous period as Venter was accused of stealing trade secrets as part of back-and-forth lawsuits in 2018.
Though the company is seeking to raise $345 million through the reverse-merger dance to Nasdaq, there’s no guarantee it will do so given the current market conditions. Because SPAC investors don’t know the merger target when they sign up, some retain the option to take their money back out, with interest, at the SPAC’s IPO price — known as redeeming shares.
With SPAC activity falling from the pandemic-fueled boom of late 2020 and early 2021, Thiam’s blank check company may see investors redeem their shares. Such a move would ring familiar with the Senti Bio SPAC consummated earlier this month, when the Tim Lu-run biotech netted only $84.5 million of the $230 million available in the SPAC trust, and $140.3 million overall.
Additionally, Freedom Acquisition I Corp. has struggled to retain sponsors, revealing in an SEC filing this month that Pimco, the world’s largest bond manager, gave up its SPAC stake. Pimco was replaced by an advisory firm, Next G, affiliated with Chinese entrepreneur Edward Zeng.