Aeglea stays afloat by scooping up Spyre, tacking on $210M in private placement

Aeglea BioTherapeutics seemed all but shuttered two months ago after another poor readout forced the company to shed almost all remaining staff and explore strategic alternatives. It turns out those alternatives included showing up at the buyer’s table. 

The rare disease company is pivoting to immunology, acquiring Spyre Therapeutics in a stock swap deal, Aeglea reported Thursday. The deal gives Aeglea access to the Paragon Therapeutics spinout's long-acting antibodies aimed at immunology, namely two parallel lead programs, SPY001 and SPY002, set to enter the clinic in 2024. Both assets are being developed to treat inflammatory bowel syndrome.

The purchase was a stock-for-stock deal, with Aeglea buying all of Spyre’s existing equity interest in exchange for roughly 13 million common Aeglea shares and 365,000 shares of series A preferred stock. Though technically an acquisition, the construct of the deal acts much more like a reverse merger. 

In more good news, Aeglea drew in $210 million via a private placement from “existing and new investors.” The fundraising is expected to extend the company’s cash runway into 2026—a new lease on life for a biotech that was close to flatlining so recently.

Jonathan Alspaugh, president and chief financial officer of Aeglea, said in a release that the company “explored numerous strategic alternatives” and felt the Spyre purchase was the best option for shareholders. 

“The company is making rapid progress advancing their two parallel lead programs into the clinic, and we believe these programs will enable us to capture a sizable share of the growing IBD market,” he said. 

Two months ago, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Aeglea would fade from Wall Street. The company axed all but 10 employees after disappointing data from rare disease med pegtarviliase, marking the third round of cuts in a year.

Heading into Thursday’s deal announcement, Aeglea was valued at just 12 cents per share. The company has since jumped up to 55 cents, although this remains below Nasdaq’s $1 threshold to remain listed.