In rare double-SPAC deal, Hyperfine picks up brain-sensing tech company as it goes public

With its portable brain scanner and direct sales model, Hyperfine has already worked to disrupt the $23 billion MRI market. Now, it aims to put a twist on it goes public by throwing an additional acquisition into the mix.

Apparently unsatisfied with merely being listed on the Nasdaq, the Fierce 15 winner and its new benefactor—a special purpose acquisition company backed by HealthCor Management and Catalio Capital Management—are using the opportunity to pick up new brain-sensing technology through the purchase of Liminal Sciences.

The total value of the three-way deal is set at about $580 million, including a $126 million private investment round supported by HealthCor and Catalio as well as Perceptive Advisors, Avidity Partners, Eldridge, ARK Investment Management, Deerfield Management and Bain Capital Public Equity.

It’s expected to leave the new company—carrying the Hyperfine name and the stock ticker HYPR—with about $375 million in cash to continue the national rollout of its Swoop MRI scanner-on-wheels, designed to be small enough to move around a hospital, fit in an elevator and run off a standard power outlet and tablet.

The new Hyperfine will continue to be led by President and CEO Dave Scott, who joined the company in early June after holding a variety of digital health, surgical robotics and medical imaging roles at Apple, Verb Surgical and Intuitive Surgical.

Last month also saw the company pick up Scott Huennekens as executive chairman of the board. Huennekens formerly served as president and CEO of Verb, the joint robotic surgery venture between Verily and Johnson & Johnson, until J&J took over the operation in 2019.

RELATED: FDA clears new version of Hyperfine's portable MRI scanner-on-wheels

Hyperfine’s Swoop was first cleared by the FDA for noncontrast scans early last year. This past February the company raised $90 million in a series D round to accelerate its commercial efforts. In the middle of a pandemic, that meant taking the Swoop on roadshow demonstrations and developing a series of virtual training sessions, videos and webinars, which brought the bonus of having clinics ready to start scanning patients on the day of delivery.

“Healthcare is rapidly evolving within and beyond the walls of the traditional hospital,” said Christopher Gaulin, CEO and director of HealthCor Catalio Acquisition Corp. “We believe Hyperfine and Liminal are well positioned to bring sophisticated MR imaging and neurological vital signs detection to a broader patient base with substantially reduced barriers to care.”

Both Hyperfine and Liminal are products of founder Jonathan Rothberg, the serial medtech entrepreneur behind the next-gen sequencing company Ion Torrent and Butterfly Network—the handheld ultrasound developer that went public via its own $1.5 billion SPAC deal earlier this year. 

RELATED: Butterfly Network nets new CEO ahead of going public

Liminal aims to make brain monitoring in the clinic as simple as taking a person’s pulse or reading their blood pressure. It is developing noninvasive technology to produce additional vital signs such as intracranial pressure and measuring blood flow through the skull.

Meanwhile, Hyperfine plans to deliver a new version of its scanner, expanding its use to imaging the cervical spine and extremities, for use in trauma centers and urgent care clinics as well as during surgical procedures.

“The best way to predict the future is to make it,” said Rothberg. “We are taking the next step in our mission to provide affordable and accessible imaging, sensing and guided robotic intervention to democratize and bring equity to healthcare for people around the world.”