Cancer-focused Liminatus sets out to test SPAC waters

SPAC deals are creeping back into the mainstream, with Liminatus Pharma and Iris Acquisition Corp. becoming the latest in the biotech sphere to test the waters.

The two companies announced the special purpose acquisition company transaction Thursday that will see a boost of funding for cancer-focused Liminatus. The deal includes a $15 million common stock PIPE financing plus $25 million in convertible note financing. The resulting company will have a pro forma enterprise value of $334 million and Liminatus will receive gross proceeds of up to $316 million. The deal, which has already been approved by Liminatus and Iris’ boards, is expected to close in the first half of 2023.

Liminatus has three immune-modulating cancer therapies in development that emerged from the Thomas Jefferson University in the U.S. and South Korea's Innobation. The most advanced is the Vaccine Ad5.F35-hGCC-Padre program for metastatic colorectal, pancreatic, esophageal and gastric cancers. The vaccine is already in phase 2. Further behind is a GCC-targeted CAR-T program for the same types of gastrointestinal cancers.

SPAC deals were all the rage a year ago, but the rush faded over 2022 as the larger biotech industry ran into tough times. With IPOs plummeting and companies forced to make difficult decisions on their pipelines and staffing levels, SPACs vanished as quickly as they took over the deal market.

But in recent weeks, a few companies have begun testing the waters again. Liminatus is joined by NewAmsterdam Pharma Co. and Aum Biosciences, which both recently executed SPAC deals.

Iris launched with an IPO in March 2021 gaining proceeds of $276 million and is backed by Arrow Capital Multi Asset Fund, an asset management company based in Dubai.