- GreenLight Biosciences, an ag biotech company using the RNA technology made famous by Covid-19 vaccines, has agreed to merge with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in a deal that will value the company at $1.2 billion and list it on the Nasdaq [disclosure: AgFunder, AFN’s parent company, is an investor in GreenLight Biosciences.]
- Environmental Impact Acquisition Corp, the SPAC participating in the merger, is backed by Canadian investment bank Canaccord Genuity Group and raised $207 million in a January IPO.
- The deal also involves a $105 million PIPE financing from a long list of investors including many of GreenLight’s existing backers such as Continental Grain Company, S2G Ventures, MLS Fund II/Spruce, Morningside Ventures, and Cormorant Asset Management.
Why it matters:
It’s the seventh agtech SPAC this year, as many sponsors set a target for environmentally beneficial tech companies. While GreenLight Biosciences has made a name for itself lately for its work on Covid-19 vaccines, it has its roots in agriculture, where it hopes to replace chemical pesticides.
Massachusetts-based GreenLight kills pests by targeting their RNA – the material that DNA employs to communicate what proteins to build – so they can’t manufacture essential proteins. Because GreenLight’s pesticide is so targeted, it only affects the intended organisms and does not impact the plant or surrounding environment, as many chemical pesticides do.
The company says it always intended to use its technology for human health too, and shifted focus to develop a Covid-19 vaccine when the pandemic hit in early 2020; it raised $102 million to this end last June.