The present popularity of SPACs, special purpose acquisition companies, might be cynically thought of as being a sign that quantitative easing is catching up with us - there is too much money sloshing around in the system, all of it chasing too few opportunities for significant returns. A SPAC is a publicly traded shell company that accepts investment prior to any specific idea as to what exactly the funds will be used for, sets a few famous people as figureheads to drum up interest, and then buys established companies or sizable stakes in established companies. It is something of the reverse of the more traditional route to taking companies public. There will be SPACs for the longevity industry, because the longevity industry is a hot topic right now.
Will this help, in the sense of will it accelerate the path to widely available therapies that can meaningfully impact the course of aging? The argument for: there is still a dearth of funding for later stage longevity-focused companies, and it is harder than it should be to obtain the funds needed to make the transition from preclinical to clinical development in this space. The argument against: the clinical development funding gap isn't the real problem, which is instead that the right programs (i.e. an implementation of all of the component parts of the SENS agenda for human rejuvenation) are still not being funded at the research and seed stage in large enough numbers. Those programs will, on balance, achieve sizable enough results in animal studies to have no challenge in pulling in later funding.
Frontier Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company formed for the purpose of entering into a combination with one or more biotech businesses, has announced the pricing of its initial public offering of $200 million. Interestingly, the line-up includes Co-Chairmen Peter Attia, a practising physician focusing on the applied science of longevity, and David Sinclair, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of several biotechnology companies.
The new company is headed by German investor Christian Angermayer, founder of Apeiron Investment Group and Chairman and Co-Founder of Cambrian Biopharma. Angermayer laid out his views last year in a detailed post on LinkedIn, where he stated, "Put simply, I want to live forever! And in perfect health! And it is my sincere belief that we will achieve the means to do this within the next 20-30 years."
Angermayer is a serial entrepreneur, backing about 30 life sciences companies, including Atai Life Sciences, Sensei Biotherapeutics, Compass Pathways, and Abcellera. In a statement he said, "I deeply believe biotechnology will be one of the best asset classes to invest in over the next decade. We will see incredible progress that we so far didn't dare to dream about."