Jim Tananbaum, Foresite Capital CEO (Business Wire)

The SPAC boom con­tin­ues to churn out heavy cap­i­tal, as Fore­site prices its $175M blank check com­pa­ny and 2 oth­ers file

Hav­ing re­turned to the SPAC well last month in the hopes of rid­ing last year’s boom, Fore­site’s sec­ond blank check com­pa­ny priced ear­li­er this week.

Known as FS De­vel­op­ment II, the Jim Tanan­baum out­fit an­nounced Wednes­day it had raised $175 mil­lion in an up­sized of­fer­ing, and priced at $10 per share. The pub­lic de­but comes about sev­en months af­ter Tanan­baum launched his first SPAC, and on­ly four months af­ter that SPAC went pub­lic in a re­verse merg­er with Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics.

Tanan­baum’s Gem­i­ni deal has proved some­what fruit­ful thus far, as the com­pa­ny is up 25% in the four months since its merg­er. At the time, he had been look­ing for a spe­cif­ic type of com­pa­ny with a ge­net­ics-dri­ven plat­form, and found one in Gem­i­ni. The com­pa­ny spe­cial­izes in tai­lor-mak­ing treat­ments for sub­pop­u­la­tions of pa­tients with mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion based on their ge­net­ic vari­ants.

The S-1 of­fered few de­tails on po­ten­tial tar­gets for the new SPAC be­yond the lan­guage that’s be­come com­mon­place in these types of com­pa­nies. Tanan­baum will have two years to find a part­ner, but if the mar­ket trend con­tin­ues he won’t near­ly need that much time.

Though it’s a quick re­turn to Wall Street for Fore­site, oth­er firms have moved quick­er. Per­cep­tive Ad­vi­sors raised a $130 mil­lion SPAC in June and re­turned be­fore the end of Ju­ly to raise an­oth­er $125 mil­lion. By that point, the firm was ev­i­dent­ly near­ing a deal for the first SPAC, which an­nounced a half-bil­lion-dol­lar merg­er with Cerev­el Ther­a­peu­tics on Ju­ly 30.

Fore­site’s new SPAC comes amid a wave of in­vestors rais­ing cap­i­tal for these blank check com­pa­nies, de­spite most end­ing up wait­ing sev­er­al months be­fore com­plet­ing their merg­ers. And the pric­ing comes in a week where two oth­er high-pro­file VCs an­nounced their SPACs. Promi­nent Sil­i­con Val­ley firm Khosla Ven­tures is seek­ing to raise $1.2 bil­lion for three blank check com­pa­nies at once, while Ed­uar­do Bra­vo is tak­ing the SPAC boom to Eu­rope with a $100 mil­lion promise.

On top of that, an­oth­er two SPACs filed just Thurs­day evening, with Fal­con Edge Cap­i­tal’s Rick Ger­son look­ing to raise $200 mil­lion in a hold­ing com­pa­ny and Acu­tus Med­ical’s Scott Huen­nekens seek­ing a $175 mil­lion raise. Even bil­lion­aire Richard Bran­son is hop­ping in­to the game, tak­ing 23andMe pub­lic ear­li­er this month as it seeks to build out its GSK-part­nered drug de­vel­op­ment busi­ness.

The vast rais­es and bur­geon­ing num­ber of SPACs them­selves have come as an­a­lysts are start­ing to won­der just how long this boom can last. Pri­vate in­vestor Brad Lon­car has writ­ten about the SPAC boom on Twit­ter, in­clud­ing when Fore­site first filed its hold­ing com­pa­ny.

How Pa­tients with Epilep­sy Ben­e­fit from Re­al-World Da­ta

Amanda Shields, Principal Data Scientist, Scientific Data Steward

Keith Wenzel, Senior Business Operations Director

Andy Wilson, Scientific Lead

Real-world data (RWD) has the potential to transform the drug development industry’s efforts to predict and treat seizures for patients with epilepsy. Anticipating or controlling an impending seizure can significantly increase quality of life for patients with epilepsy. However, because RWD is secondary data originally collected for other purposes, the challenge is selecting, harmonizing, and analyzing the data from multiple sources in a way that helps support patients.

$DNA is once again on NYSE; FDA clears Soliris chal­lenger for the mar­ket; Flag­ship’s think­ing big again with eR­NA; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

I still remember the uncertainty in the air last year when nobody was sure whether ASCO would cancel their in-person meeting. But it’s now back again for the second virtual conference, and Endpoints News is here for it. Check out our 2-day event reviewing the landscape of cancer R&D and send news our way.

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Michael Dell (Richard Drew, AP Images)

'Dude, you're get­ting a Del­l' — as a new deep-pock­et biotech in­vestor

What happens when you marry longtime insiders in the global biotech VC game with the family fund of tech billionaire Michael Dell, a synthetic biology legend out of MIT and Harvard and the former director of the NCI?

Today, the answer is a newly financed, $200 million biotech SPAC now cruising the industry for a top player interested in finding a short cut to Nasdaq.

Orion Biotech Opportunities priced their blank check company today, raising $200 million with Dell’s multibillion-dollar MSD group’s commitment on investing another $20 million in a forward-purchase agreement.

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Gene ther­a­py from Bio­gen's $800M buy­out flops in mid-stage study, deal­ing blow to new am­bi­tions

The #2 candidate from Biogen’s $800 million ocular gene therapy buyout has failed in a mid-stage trial, dealing an early blow to the big biotech’s plans to revitalize its pipeline with new technologies.

Biogen announced that the candidate, an experimental treatment for a rare and progressive form of blindness called X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), failed to sufficiently improve vision in patients’ treated eye — patients only received an injection in one eye — after a year, on a standard scale, compared to their untreated eye. The company said they saw “positive trends” on several secondary endpoints, including visual acuity, but declined to say whether the trial actually hit any of those endpoints.

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Vas Narasimhan (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­var­tis whiffs on En­tresto study af­ter heart at­tacks — but that does­n't mean it's go­ing down qui­et­ly

If Novartis learned one thing from its interaction with the FDA over its latest heart failure approval for Entresto, it was that missing a primary endpoint may not be the nail in the coffin. Now, Entresto has missed again on a late-stage study in high-risk heart patients, and it’s already sowing the seeds for a path forward regardless.

Novartis’ Entresto couldn’t best standard-of-care ramipril in staving off a composite of deaths and heart failure events in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and/or pulmonary congestion who have had a prior heart attack, according to topline data from the Phase III PARADISE-MI study revealed Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.

Jason Kelly (Photographer: Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Gink­go nabs $DNA, biotech's most sought af­ter tick­er, for free in sweet­en­er from NYSE

When Ginkgo went comparison shopping for a financial market to list their now $15 billion company, the New York Stock Exchange had a back-pocket sweetener the Nasdaq couldn’t offer: The most sought-after ticker in biotech, $DNA.

DNA — the most famous three letters in biology and the ticker for the world’s first biotech, Genentech, from 1999 until it was bought out by Roche for $48 billion in 2009 — will now be the ticker for Ginkgo, a 12-year-old synthetic biology startup with grand ambitions to change not only how drugs, but also everyday products like meat and perfumes, are made.

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Lark­spur Health Ac­qui­si­tion files to go pub­lic as this year's SPAC flood surges over $14B

Editor’s note: Interested in following biopharma’s fast-paced IPO market? You can bookmark our IPO Tracker here.

Another day, another SPAC vying for a spot on Nasdaq.

On Wednesday, OncoSec Medical CEO Daniel O’Connor filed the S-1 paperwork for a new blank-check company he’s leading called Larkspur Health Acquisition. The former Advaxis chief penciled in a $75 million raise, with plans to offer 7.5 million shares at $10 apiece.

BAR­DA slows its $9B en­gine for new Covid-19 ther­a­peu­tics

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is cooling its jets in looking for new, potential Covid-19 treatments, at least in the near term.

An HHS spokesperson told Endpoints News via email, “to date, BARDA has obligated more than $9 billion for the development and/or purchase of 13 therapeutics, beginning in February 2020 with support to develop Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapeutic. Therapeutics are an important element of the COVID-19 response, and we are focused on the programs currently underway and/or in negotiation using the funds available to us.”

Bris­tol My­ers backs up its case for heart drug mava­camten as FDA weighs app in car­diomy­opa­thy

When Bristol Myers Squibb signed off on its $13 billion acquisition of MyoKardia back in October, it was making a big bet that lead drug mavacamten could prove a game changer in cardiac myopathy. Now, with the drug up for FDA review, Bristol Myers is backing up its case with new quality of life data.

Patients dosed with myosin inhibitor mavacamten posted a clinically significant increase in scores on the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire, a catch-all summary of symptoms and quality of life markers, over placebo at 30 weeks, according to data from the Phase III EXPLORER-HCM study presented Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.