What M&A slowdown? Buyers circle GreenLight Biosciences, Egetis Therapeutics

While biotech M&A may have cooled down over the past year, no one has told GreenLight Biosciences or Egetis Therapeutics, which are both mulling takeover offers.

RNA-focused GreenLight announced yesterday that it has received an offer from VC firm Fall Line Capital’s Fall Line Endurance Fund to acquire all outstanding stock of the biotech for 60 cents per share.

GreenLight— which spreads itself across vaccines and therapies for humans as well as agricultural solutions—only went public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger in February 2022. The merger agreement valued the company at $1.2 billion and GreenLight’s stock hit a high of over $12 per share in the following weeks. But it’s been dropping ever since, with a closing price Thursday of just 43 cents.

Still, the biotech emphasized that no sale has been agreed yet, with the company’s board of directors due to “carefully evaluate Fall Line’s indication of interest within the context of the ongoing review of various alternatives and in consultation with any financial and legal advisors it may retain.”

GreenLight ended 2022 with $68.1 million in cash and equivalents. Despite pausing its gene therapy program for sickle cell anemia and cutting 25% of staff in October 2022 to save money, the company still expects reserves to run dry by June. The biotech had already announced it was looking at a range of measures to eke out its runway, including “further management of program spending, additional platform licensing collaborations and potential further financing activities.”

Even with human health ambitions now limited to preclinical vaccine candidates for pan-sarbecovirus and shingles, as well as a cancer vaccine collab with EpiVax, it’s not surprising the company is open to external offers.

Less is known about Egetis’ offer. The biotech released a concise note yesterday responding to “existing rumors” by confirming that the company “has ongoing discussions with certain external parties regarding a potential acquisition.”

Again, Egetis was keen to stress that no offer has yet been agreed. The Swedish company’s lead product is Emcitate, which is in phase 2 trials for Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that impacts a child's cognition, mobility and overall health and for which there is currently no available treatment. Egetis plans to submit a request for EU approval in the second quarter of the year based on existing clinical data.