GreenLight to Go Public via SPAC Deal
GreenLight Valued at Around $1.5 billion
GreenLight Biosciences, an RNA technology startup working on mRNA vaccines, is going public through a SPAC deal. Environmental Impact Acquisition (ENVI), a blank-check company with backing from Canaccord Genuity Group (CCORF), is buying the RNA tech company in a deal which values it at around $1.5 billion. GreenLight Biosciences is among the RNA technology firms working on mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 and other illnesses.
The company is also developing alternatives to pesticides and herbicides using RNA tech. The startup is expected to earn $280 million in the deal which also includes a $105 million private investment in public equity. Investors in the PIPE include BNP Paribas’ green fund and the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust.
GreenLight Races to Launch RNA Products
GreenLight Biosciences, which launched in 2008, is using messenger RNA to develop vaccines at a faster rate than with traditional vaccine technologies. With messenger RNA or mRNA, instructions are encoded in DNA and sent to the cells to follow. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA teaches human cells to produce a protein that is similar to the one found in the coronavirus. That prompts the body to release an immune response.
GreenLight is aiming to start COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in Africa during the first three months of 2022. Outside of COVID-19, GreenLight is working on a seasonal flu vaccine and a vaccine for sickle-cell disease.
SPACs Eye Sustainability Startups
In addition to using RNA tech to develop vaccinations, GreenLight is using RNA to develop pesticides which target mites that hurt bee colonies and potato beetles which destroy crops. The company hopes to have products in the market in the coming years if it can win regulatory approval.
Environmental Impact Acquisition is among the blank-check companies which are merging with private firms and taking them public. SPACs have raised close to $120 billion in 2021, with many of the deals focused on sustainability. While the number of deals have slowed in recent months, transactions are still happening at a regular clip. It will be interesting to see which green company will be next to announce a SPAC deal.
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