Dave Mehalick originally envisioned his company to be a generic manufacturer with five drugs in the hopper. But soon after founding Coeptis Therapeutics in 2017, he realized that this sector of the pharmaceutical market was “really becoming a race to the bottom”.
So he pivoted. The unknown biotech of the Pittsburgh region raised a a few million dollars over the years to private investors, went public on the OTC Pink market and partnered with VyGen-Bio, Karolinska Institutet and Statera Biopharma to become an oncology cell therapy developer.
And, as other biotechs and medtechs back out of speculative mergers and some SPACs pull themselves out of their IPO plans, Coeptis has decided to go the check route. white and to merge with Bull Horn Holdings Corp., the company disclosed Tuesday. SPAC raised $75 million nearly 18 months ago to focus on acquiring a “sports, entertainment and brand leader” company.
“I think it’s a good time because we’re coming to a low end in the biotech market,” CEO Mehalick said. Endpoints News. “I think the price of Coeptis’ current position is a great price for SPAC investors. I think we’re very well positioned, which I think will be the next step in the biotech market in the months or years to come. I think the timing couldn’t be better.
He described the process as happening “in a fairly quick fashion”.
“We are already considering signing up for a major exchange. We were working with bankers to move in this direction, and then one of our bankers offered us an opportunity,” the CEO said. “I met the senior management of Bull Horn, and we seemed to hit it off pretty much from the start because they got to see what we were doing.”
Merger deal comes just six days after Coeptis announcement plans to acquire Statera’s TLR5 agonist platform, including entolimod, for $6 million up front and undisclosed biobucks to follow. In December, the FDA lifted its clinical hold on entolimod for the treatment of acute radiation syndrome. The potential deadly radiation storage drug will likely enter a Phase II by the end of 2022, Mehalick said, noting that scientific meetings to discuss clinical plans begin today.
Coeptis also intends to help Statera develop and commercialize STAT-201 for adult and pediatric patients with Crohn’s disease, according to an SEC deposit.
Coeptis is working on the development of a cell therapy targeting CD38-related cancers and a pre-clinical in vitro diagnosis of these cancers with its partner VyGen-Bio. The therapy is intended to allow combination therapy with anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies. VyGen is led by professors and leaders from Karolinska Institutet. The three leaders – Evren Alici, Arnika Wagner and Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren – are also part of Coeptis’ scientific advisory board, and the institution is where most of Coeptis’ scientific work currently takes place.
Mehalick said the company will bolster its workforce, currently under 10, to include a lab in Karolinska — near Stockholm — and hire more in the hometown of Wexford, Pennsylvania.
The CEO founded Coeptis in 2017 with former employees of Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Kadmon in 2010. Sanofi acquired Kadmon for around $1.9 billion last September. After initially going the generics route, Coeptis changed course and sold its assets to ANI Pharmaceuticals for around $2.3 million, according to an SEC. deposit.
Coeptis also had a co-development agreement with Vici Health Sciences, signed in 2019, for CPT60621, an oral liquid version of an approved drug for Parkinson’s disease. Due to its focus on the VyGen partnership, Coeptis said it “recently stopped allocating priority resources” to the asset and Vici “intends to buy out most or all of Coeptis’ remaining ownership rights.” , according to a March SEC statement. deposit.
The name biotech “comes from the idea that God favors our businesses,” Mehalick said.
Bull Horn is led by CEO Robert Striar and CFO Christopher Calise. Striar is president of M Style, a marketing company specializing in sports, entertainment and consumer products. Calise leads the strategic work of private investment insurance holding company Crown Global.