News briefing: UK biotech 4D pharma heads for Nasdaq via SPAC; Dr. Reddy's shuts down manufacturing after cyberattack
Another pharma company is intending to use a SPAC to join the Nasdaq.
4D pharma, a UK-based biotech, is reverse-merging with a blank check company in a deal worth up to $37.6 million. The move will give 4D pharma a new Nasdaq ticker, which will be $LBPS, using the American Depositary Share program. 4D will continue to trade on the London stock exchange under its previous ticker.
As a result of the move, 4D pharma will gain $14.6 million in cash held by the blank check company, dubbed Longevity $LOAC. The merger is expected to be completed in early 2021, after which shares will be immediately tradeable on Nasdaq.
4D’s London stock is expected to open at about $1.44 per share, representing about an 18% premium on Wednesday’s closing price.
The company’s research focuses on harnessing bacteria from the human gut to treat a wide range of diseases. Its lead program is currently in a Phase I/II study in combination with Keytruda examining how it could affect solid tumors. 4D pharma also has clinical programs in pancreatic cancer, asthma, Covid-19 and irritable bowel syndrome.
India’s Dr. Reddy’s the target of an apparent cyberattack
An apparent cyberattack forced Indian drugmaker Dr. Reddy’s to shut down all of its global manufacturing facilities.
The attack occurred early Thursday morning local time, according to company regulatory filings. Dr. Reddy’s informed the local stock exchange that “in the wake of a detected cyber-attack, we have isolated all data center services to take required preventive actions.”
It was not immediately clear what kind of cyberattack hit the company, be it ransomware or something else. CIO Mukesh Rathi said in the filing that he expects the company’s operations to be back up and running at full capacity within 24 hours.
Thursday’s attack comes less than a week after Indian regulators approved a Phase II/III study of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine to commence in the country.
Haystack Sciences acquired by insitro, bolstering machine learning capabilites
AI and machine learning have long been theorized as one of the next steps in drug R&D evolution, and Thursday saw a deal aiming to capitalize on that front.
The machine learning-driven company insitro announced that it is acquiring Haystack Sciences, a private company developing its own machine learning platform to help enable drug discovery. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Haystack’s approach focuses on synthesizing, breeding and analyzing diverse chemical libraries encoded by unique DNA sequences called DNA-encoded libraries, or DELs. The tech can also execute rapid follow-up and possesses a proprietary semi-quantitative screening technology that generates datasets with higher resolution than conventional “panning” approaches.
All that goes into insitro’s approach of generating predictive models that the company uses to accelerate target selection and develop their therapies.