Video source: YouTube, Cytovia Therapeutics
Cytovia Therapeutics announced Tuesday that it has agreed to merge with Isleworth Healthcare Acquisition Corp (ISLE).
The deal values the combined entity at a pro forma $602 million valuation, assuming a $10 per share price. The companies expect the transaction to close in the third quarter of 2022, and the combined company is expected to be listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol INKC.
The new company would have up to $227 million in gross proceeds from a combination of approximately $207 million in cash held in Isleworth's trust account and $20 million from PIPE financing by new investors.
Cytovia is developing natural killer (NK) cell and NK-engager antibody platforms to fight cancer through stem cell engineering and multispecific antibodies. The company uses induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as starting material for its cell products, which it calls iNKs (iPSC-derived NK cells).
Cytovia is headquartered in Aventura, Florida, with R&D laboratories in Natick, Massachusetts and a current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) cell manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico.
Cytovia's lead program is the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) therapies targeting GPC3, a promising novel target for solid tumors. HCC is the most common type of liver cancer and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. The initial four product candidates will be evaluated as monotherapies and as combination therapies.
Image source: Cytovia Therapeutics
Investors with a high risk tolerance may consider Isleworth stock before the deal closes as expected in Q3. 534,900 shares traded on Wednesday after news of the merger, dwarfing the average daily volume of 29,800 shares over the previous month. Those with less risk appetite should wait until the deal closes.
While an investment in Cytovia Therapeutics carries the double-layered risk of a SPAC merger and an early stage biotech, we find a lot to like about the company's potential.
The therapeutic market opportunity in liver cancer is in the multibillions of dollars.
- Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.
- There's a high unmet need, with 72% of patients non-responsive to the current standard of care (atezolizumab-bevacizumab), and a progression free survival rate of just 6.8 months.
- HCC is the most common type of liver cancer and is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. It is notoriously difficult to treat in its advanced stages.
- Cytovia's GPC3 target is a cell surface protein found on most HCC tumor cells, and critically, is absent on normal liver tissue and in other organs.
The company has numerous corporate and academic partnerships in place:
- Cellectis ( Chart CLLS - $2.04 0.01 (0.49%) )
- CytoImmune Therapeutics
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- INSERM, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research
- New York Stem Cell Foundation
- National Cancer Institute
- University of California San Francisco
- CytoLynx Therapeutics joint venture, focused on R&D, manufacturing and commercialization activities in Greater China and beyond.
- This merger with Isleworth SPAC would provide enough runway across a broad pipeline into 2024.
- Cytovia has numerous milestones expected over the next two years that could be discrete catalysts for the stock:
Image source: Cytovia Therapeutics
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