IsoPlexis aims to steer its 'barcodes' to Nasdaq as Asia-focused SPAC launches merger efforts

Max Gelman
Editor Endpoints

Jul 20, 2021

The biotech IPO train continues steadily chugging along, with a new passenger punching their ticket late Tuesday.

Branford, CT-based IsoPlexis is jumping aboard, submitting its SEC paperwork with a $100 million ask penciled in and aiming to bring its personalized protein “barcodes” to Nasdaq. Tuesday’s S-1 comes a little over six months after IsoPlexis nabbed a $135 million Series D led by Perceptive.

The filing marks the latest in a long string of biotechs that joined the Nasdaq party this year, and one Nasdaq official Jordan Saxe expects to continue. In a conversation with Endpoints News earlier this month, Saxe said the index is in discussions with about 250 biotechs aiming to list over the next year and a half.

IsoPlexis is charging ahead with its plan to personalize cancer treatment using its single-cell analysis tool to refine immunotherapies. That tool has helped researchers create what the company calls “proteomic barcode chips,” allowing closer examination of a patient’s complement of proteins within cells.

Though IsoPlexis is focusing on cancer right now, they have ambitions to expand into infectious diseases, inflammatory conditions and neurological diseases, the S-1 said. The company believes the single-cell approach is key here, as it argues previous proteomics approaches focus only on average cell activity in the aggregate.

Researchers utilize IsoPlexis’ systems for the analysis of functional proteins from single cells on “proteomically barcoded” chips. After the chip is run on the IsoPlexis instrument, the company runs it through a software it developed to analyze how a person’s immune system might respond to different treatments, in a process CEO Sean Mackay termed “single-cell immune landscaping” in an interview with Endpoints in January.

IsoPlexis did not reveal its plans on how it expects to use IPO funds, saying only in the S-1, “At this time we cannot specify with certainty the particular uses for the net proceeds from this offering.” The biotech further didn’t reveal how much of the company each stakeholder owns, though it did say Mackay is the highest-paid director after he took home nearly $1 million last year.

$50M Asia-focused SPAC files for Nasdaq listing
Tuesday also saw the formation of a new blank check company targeting the biotech sector.

The SPAC comes from the CEO of pharma VC firm The Balloch Group, Edward Wang. Wang plans to focus acquisition efforts on a company based in Asia, and is penciling in $50 million for the blank check raise.

In addition to biotech, Wang noted he is also exploring a merger with a company in the new energy and education sectors. Current plans will center around a company valued between $150 million and $300 million.

According to the S-1, the SPAC has connections to a former Chinese youth travel director, as CFO Yi Zhong served in this capacity for 16 months between 2016 and 2017. Another director, Raymond Gibbs, also spent time in the consumer goods industry.