Rare Daily Staff

Blade Therapeutics has agreed to merge with Biotech Acquisition Company, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, affiliated with SPRIM Global Investments, which raised $230 million in its initial public offering in January 2021.

Upon the closing of the transaction, which is anticipated to occur in the first quarter of 2022, the combined company will be renamed Blade Biotherapeutics, Inc., and is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the symbol “BBTX.”

The proposed merger will create publicly traded biopharmaceutical company focused on developing treatments for fibrotic and neurodegenerative diseases.

The combined company is expected to have a post-transaction enterprise value of approximately $352.8 million and is expected to provide a pro forma cash balance of approximately $254.3 million to the combined company, before deducting estimated transaction expenses of $25.0 million and including an approximately $24.3 million private investment in public equity and $230.0 million of net cash held in BAC’s trust. The PIPE financing is anchored by leading institutional investors, including Deerfield Management, Pfizer Ventures, Bristol Myers Squibb, MPM Capital and Osage University Partners. As part of the transaction, the outstanding equity of Blade will be converted into equity of the combined company.

The net proceeds from the transaction are expected to be used to support clinical, manufacturing, and preclinical activities for the combined company’s lead product candidates, development of additional pipeline programs, and for working capital and general corporate purposes.

“We view Blade’s science as world-class, with a clinical-stage pipeline targeting diseases that remain undertreated,” said Wendye Robbins, president and CEO of Blade and a board nominee of the combined company. “We believe that this proposed merger will advance our mission to bring life-changing treatments to patients with devastating diseases.”

Blade expects to advance a differentiated pipeline of oral, small-molecule therapies with disease-modifying potential that includes a non-competitive autotaxin inhibitor and inhibitors of dimeric calpains designed for the potential treatment of lung, liver and cardiac fibrosis or neurodegenerative diseases.

Blade’s lead investigational medicine is cudetaxestat, a non-competitive, reversible inhibitor of autotaxin that is planned to enter a phase 2 clinical study in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in the first half of 2022. Cudetaxestat has demonstrated direct anti-fibrotic activity and differentiating preclinical and biochemical characteristics which support the potential for a treatment profile in lung and liver fibrosis. Available data from completed phase 1 studies have shown that cudetaxestat was well tolerated with a demonstrated pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic correlation and biomarker activity, and a supportive clinical safety profile.

In neurodegeneration, Blade’s lead product candidate is BLD-2184, a CNS-penetrant calpain inhibitor as a potential treatment option for inherited (genetic) poly-Q neurodegenerative conditions such as Huntington’s disease and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3 or Machado-Joseph disease) and other neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, multiple system atrophy). Pending completion of the investigational new drug (IND) application process and subsequent regulatory activation of the IND, Blade plans to start a phase 1 clinical study in healthy volunteers in the first half of 2022.

Photo: Wendye Robbins, president and CEO of Blade

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