SPAC merger called off as company connected to ex-Purdue CEO decides to remain private
Sometimes, the third time is not the charm.
Blade Therapeutics announced Monday morning that the company and its proposed merger partner, Biotech Acquisition Company, mutually agreed to call things off, effective immediately. This takes place just seven months after Blade, the small San Francisco biotech where ex-Purdue CEO Mark Timney is board chair, announced the reverse merger worth $254.3 million.
Blade’s communications SVP Michael Blash tells Endpoints News that a shareholder meeting was delayed twice.
“The rationale driving that was we weren’t meeting all the conditions that were set up in the original definitive merger agreement. And we arrived at a point where it was apparent that it was best to mutually agree to not finish with the merger,” Blash added.
A press release from June 2 also hinted at timing being an issue, saying that “The postponement of the Extraordinary Meeting is intended to permit more time to satisfy all conditions necessary to effect the closing of the proposed Business Combination.”
When the SPAC was announced last November, Blade said in a statement that the SPAC cash would fund and push forward “clinical, manufacturing and preclinical activities” for its lead programs.
As for what’s next for Blade, the current plan is to continue development on its current lead program, cudetaxestat. Blade describes the treatment as a “non-competitive, reversible inhibitor of autotaxin,” added that it plans to launch a Phase II study for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis sometime this year, a potential delay from an announcement earlier this year when the SPAC merger was first announced, saying it would begin in the first half of 2022.
According to Blade, the plan is to remain as a private company for the foreseeable future.
While Timney has been named in dozens of lawsuits for his role leading Purdue during the opioid epidemic, he has not gone without other job opportunities. He previously joined The Medicines Company as CEO in December 2018, earning $65 million after Novartis said it overpaid when it spent $9.7 billion to acquire the company. And last year, Timney joined Attralus Therapeutics as CEO in his next stop.