Sensor maker Rockley Photonics to go public in $1.2B SPAC deal

Chipmaker Rockley Photonics has announced plans to go public to raise funds for its wearable sensor platform designed to continuously monitor multiple biomarkers such as blood glucose levels, hydration, blood pressure and body temperature.

Through a deal with publicly traded SC Health Corp., a blank-check special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, Rockley will reemerge on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "RKLY" in a transaction listed with a pro forma enterprise value of $1.2 billion.

Rockley also supplies integrated photonic chips, optical sensors and other hardware across multiple markets, including laser-based systems for autonomous cars and machine vision applications. SC Health, meanwhile, is sponsored by an affiliate of pan-Asia investment firm SIN Capital.

In the medtech field, Rockley aims to develop health, wellness and nutrition sensors for consumer smartwatches and point-of-care diagnostic devices, using silicon chips to absorb light and deliver more data on what’s happening under the skin than typical LED-based sensors.

“Our partnership with SC Health positions us to accelerate our time-to-market for our compelling health and wellness solutions,” said Rockley founder and CEO Andrew Rickman. “We believe that bringing laboratory diagnostics to the wrist will transform patient monitoring, healthcare delivery, and overall consumer health and wellbeing.”

The company said it is currently engaged with four consumer electronics manufacturers and two medtech companies to provide full-stack solutions incorporating sensing hardware, algorithms and data analytics.

“We are healthcare investors, and we very quickly understood the transformational nature of Rockley’s technology and the way it will revolutionize consumers’ ability to track, monitor and better understand their day-to-day health and wellness,” said SC Health CEO A.J. Coloma.

According to the companies, the deal is expected to deliver up to $323 million in proceeds, including up to $173 million in cash from SC Health—plus an additional private investment round, topping $150 million at $10 per share, from backers including Senvest Management, UBS O’Connor and Medtronic. 

Existing Rockley shareholders will roll all of their equity into the future combined company, owning about 75% of the enterprise, with the transaction expected to close before the end of June.