Here comes the SPAC attack

The IPO market is getting ugly for many startups, but the sun is still shining for special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs — sort of shell companies with blank-checks to acquire other companies opportunistically.

Brace yourselves for the SPAC attack

Life-science IPOs may be hitting the wall — so far this year, seven biotech and medical-device startups have yanked their offerings — but one part of the IPO market is booming. That’s the field of “special-purpose acquisition corporations,” or SPACs, which are essentially blank-check companies that raise money through initial offerings specifically for the purpose of acquiring other companies.

Cancer-drug biotech Agensys sells to Astellas for $387M — but is it a pig in a poke?

Yet another biotech has succumbed to Big Pharma’s deep-pocketed blandishments. Agensys, a decade-old Santa Monica, Calif., biotech with an early-stage pipeline, just agreed to sell itself to Japan’s Astellas Pharma for $387 million in cash. The company’s shareholders can receive up to another $150 million in milestone payments.