Another SPAC deal cracks as spine implant maker Accelus calls off Nasdaq plans

After inking a $482 million deal to go public late last year, the spine implant maker Accelus and its SPAC partner, CHP Merger Corp., have called it quits. 

The two companies mutually agreed to pass on the transaction “in light of market conditions,” they said in a release, with Accelus co-founder and CEO Chris Walsh describing the move as a “strategic pivot.”

Originally backed by an affiliate of Concord Health Partners, the SPAC deal aimed to bring Accelus—itself the product of a 2021 merger between the minimally invasive device developers Integrity Implants and Fusion Robotics—to the Nasdaq with a plan to accelerate the adoption of its technologies in spine surgeries.

They include Integrity’s FlareHawk lumbar interbody fusion device, which received FDA clearance in 2016 and a CE mark in 2021, plus its agency-cleared LineSider, TiHawk and Toro-L systems as well as Fusion’s FDA-cleared 3D imaging-compatible navigation and robotic targeting system.

In March, Accelus announced the first successful surgeries pairing its Remi navigation system with its LineSider posterior fixation implant. The compact platform includes a four-pound robotic targeting system and a nearfield camera attached to the operating table that tracks the use of surgical instruments and the placement of screws.

“We continue to see accelerating demand for our highly differentiated product portfolio and for robotic-enabled minimally invasive techniques specifically, both in hospitals and [ambulatory surgical centers],” Walsh said in the statement announcing the end of the SPAC deal.

Accelus is far from the first company to backtrack on going public in the past few months. The desire for SPAC deals began to slide in the second half of last year—after starting 2021 with a rapid pace and sky-high values—and many put the blame on “market conditions” for the sudden change in plans.

HeartFlow had announced plans in July 2021 to join the New York Stock Exchange through a $2.4 billion deal supported by Glenview Capital Management but called it off this past February. And last November, the biotech Valo Health nixed a $750 million deal with a Khosla Ventures-backed SPAC after proposing a merger that June. 

However, large SPAC deals haven’t died out entirely: Akili Interactive inked a deal worth about $1 billion in total equity in January that would bring the prescription video game company to the Nasdaq sometime around the middle of this year if all goes according to plan.