- The financing for the deal, totaling $135 million, will be anchored by the SPAC’s sponsor, Forbion Growth
- Other investors will include BVF Partners, Omega Funds, Cowen Healthcare Investments, Investissement Québec, Vivo Capital, Northleaf Capital Partners and CTI Life Sciences
- They will also include existing enGene backers Forbion Ventures, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Lumira Ventures
Montreal-based enGene, a biotechnology company developing non-viral gene therapies for local administration into mucosal tissues, has agreed to combine with Forbion European Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company.
Upon closing of the deal, the combined company will be named enGene Holdings, whose common shares are expected to be listed on the Nasdaq.
The financing for the deal, totaling $135 million, will be anchored by FEAC’s sponsor, Forbion Growth. Other investors will include BVF Partners, Omega Funds, Cowen Healthcare Investments, Investissement Québec, Vivo Capital, Northleaf Capital Partners and CTI Life Sciences, along with existing enGene backers Forbion Ventures, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Lumira Ventures.
The proposed transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.
Net proceeds of the deal are expected to be used to fund the clinical development of intravesical detalimogene voraplasmid, a monotherapy for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin-unresponsive NMIBC with CIS through significant milestones. They are also expected to support the development of earlier pipeline programs in gynecological/genitourinary malignancies and respiratory diseases.
“While gene therapy has fundamentally changed treatment outcomes for patients with challenging illnesses, the products themselves are often difficult to manufacture and administer,” said Jason Hanson, CEO of enGene, in a statement. “Our mission at enGene is to broaden the reach of gene therapy by creating safe, locally deliverable, non-viral therapies while freeing physicians from the onerous handling procedures typically required by viral-based gene therapy products. The proposed business combination with FEAC will enable us to build on the favorable safety and promising preliminary efficacy data from the Phase 1 portion of our Phase 1/2 LEGEND clinical trial of intravesical detalimogene voraplasmid, which we believe has the potential to set a new bar for organ-sparing NMIBC treatments and serve as the cornerstone of a multi-indication franchise.”
Forbion Growth and Forbion Ventures are affiliates of Forbion, a life sciences specialist private equity and venture capital firm with headquarters in Naarden, the Netherlands.
SVB Securities is acting as lead capital markets advisor to FEAC and UBS Investment Bank is acting as lead financial advisor and capital markets advisor to FEAC.
SVB Securities is acting as the lead placement agent and UBS Investment Bank is acting as co-placement agent to FEAC in connection with the PIPE commitments. Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor to enGene.