Startup News: SandboxAQ acquires Good Chemistry

In recent days, several privately held biotech companies have either been part of a merger deal or filed papers to go public.

Last week, Good Chemistry, which uses AI and other advanced technologies to accelerate drug discovery, announced that it was being acquired by SandboxAQ, an AI and quantum software company with a last known valuation of $3.85 billion as of March 2022. Though the press release announcing the deal didn’t disclose the sales price, The Wall Street Journal reported that the acquisition was worth about $75 million through a combination of cash and stock, according to sources with knowledge of the acquisition.

SandboxAQ’s takeover of Good Chemistry is emblematic of efforts to use new technologies like AI to speed up the pace and affordability of drug development. According to the release announcing the deal, the acquisition is set to improve SandboxAQ's existing computational chemistry and simulation capabilities, “adding additional talent, proven technologies, and deep industry insights gleaned from working with leaders in the life sciences and advanced materials fields.”

Good Chemistry founder and CEO Arman Zaribafiyan will join SandboxAQ with the title of Head of Product for AI Simulation Platforms, according to the announcement.

ArriVent and Fractyl Plan to go public

Meanwhile, two other companies, ArriVent Biopharma and Fractyl Health, announced plans to launch IPOs.

ArriVent Biopharma, which is developing a novel inhibitor for lung cancer, filed earlier this month with the SEC to raise up to $100 million in an IPO, according to Renaissance Capital, an IPO research and investment management firm. ArriVent, which was founded in 2021, plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol AVBP.

The company’s lead drug candidate, furmonertinib, is a growth factor receptor mutant-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor that the company is developing for non-small cell lung cancer. Furmonertinib is currently being evaluated in multiple trials, including a Phase 3 trial.

Fractyl, a biotech that is developing gene therapies for type 2 diabetes and obesity, filed with the SEC to raise up to $100 million in an IPO according to another article in Renaissance Capital. Fractyl’s lead drug candidate, the Revita DMR System, has already been approved for patients in Europe with inadequately controlled type 2 diabetes.

Founded in 2010, the company plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol GUTS.

About the Author

John Kimelman is a veteran journalist who has worked at Barron’s and CNBC covering such topics as investing and commercial banking. Mr. Kimelman has received compensation from Forge Global, Inc. for authoring this article. Read more from John.

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