2021-08-10| IPO

With Increasing Appeal for RNA Technology, Medford Startup Jumps on the SPAC Wagon to Go Public

by Rajaneesh K. Gopinath
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RNA tech firm GreenLight Biosciences Inc. has announced a merger with Environmental Impact Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), to go public in a deal worth $1.5 billion. The decision aims to create a joint company that develops products to address two major issues plaguing humankind—human health and food security.

GreenLight’s proprietary, cell-free RNA production technology enables a scalable and safe method to produce fast, cost-efficient RNA. With its groundbreaking tech, the innovative startup has raised a total of $215 million in over 8 funding rounds before announcing the latest merger.

“We are thrilled to partner with Environmental Impact Acquisition Corp. to accelerate our vision and advance the delivery of our solutions to where they are needed most, with shared goals to pave the way for a sustainable planet through widely available and affordable RNA,” said Andrey Zarur, Co-Founder, and CEO of GreenLight Biosciences.


RNA-Based Solutions to Global Issues

Headquartered in Medford, Massachusetts, GreenLight Biosciences also has research and development operations in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Launched in 2008, the company intends to develop RNA-based sustainable solutions to support human, animal, and plant health.

In addition to utilizing its proprietary messenger RNA (mRNA) production technology to achieve large-scale manufacturing of mRNA vaccines, GreenLight is also working towards finding safe alternatives for pesticides to prevent the killing of beneficial insects. To that end, it is currently developing RNA-based pesticides with the goal of protecting honeybees. In May, it acquired rights to assets of Bayer’s topical RNA Intellectual Property portfolio, which included bee health capabilities.

“We believe that GreenLight’s breakthrough platform can create advanced therapies, vaccines, and crop-protection products that address—quickly, directly, and specifically—some of the most significant problems facing the world today,” said Zarur.


A $1.5 Billion SPAC Deal

The SPAC deal valued at $1.5 billion includes a pro forma enterprise value of approximately $1.2 billion for GreenLight upon close. Besides, the transaction will yield $282 million to the company for its operational needs. This includes $105 million in proceeds from a Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE) transaction priced at $10.00 per share.

The PIPE transaction is supported by S2G Ventures, Cormorant Asset Management, Morningside Venture Investments, Hudson Bay Capital, BNP Paribas Ecosystem Restoration Fund, The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, Continental Grain Company, Pura Vida Investments LLC, Xeraya Capital, and MLS Fund II/Spruce.

“Going public through this partnership will accelerate development and commercialization by enabling us to attract the talent, purchase the tools, scale our manufacturing infrastructure, advance regulatory approvals, and develop further the science necessary to address some of humanity’s most pressing challenges,” Zarur said of the partnership.

The funds from the transaction will provide GreenLight the capital it needs for advancing biopesticides, with the first product expected to launch in 2022. It will also use the money to build the mRNA manufacturing platform that fuels its lead vaccine programs comprising shots for COVID-19 and seasonal flu.

“When considering quality merger partners that aligned with our mission of delivering environmental and social impact, we saw GreenLight as both a notable and compelling partner for ENVI and our shareholders,” said Dan Coyne, CEO of Environmental Impact Acquisition Corp. “We are excited to announce this merger with GreenLight, as there is alignment on how our combined resources may create value for our stakeholders, and how our capital may be invested in a purpose-driven platform committed to improving humanity.”

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