Sorrento Therapeutics Inc.’s majority-owned subsidiary, Scilex Holding Co., and antibody drug developer Apexigen Inc. both announced plans late this week to go public via mergers with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), suggesting that, despite current market conditions, SPACs are still considered a viable option for firms seeking cash and access to public markets.
From every perspective, the number of biopharma deals with nonprofit or government entities, as well as industry grants, are significantly below last year, and efforts focused on the COVID-19 pandemic have dropped as well.
Despite three mammoth deals signed for antibody-drug conjugates, the BioWorld Cancer Index (BCI), which ended last year down 36%, has fallen another 35% in the early months of 2022. It is a much sharper decline than that seen with the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which are down 18% and 7.5%, respectively.
A total of seven new molecular entities (NME) have been approved by the U.S. FDA this year, while another seven therapies received dreaded complete response letters from the agency. Out of 9 FDA approvals in February, including two BLAs, three NDAs, three supplemental applications, and one abbreviated NDA, were three NME clearances.