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30 July, 2020 - 11:11 By Tony Quested

F-star Therapeutics gets NASDAQ listing via US merger

Cambridge UK life science business F-star Therapeutics is merging with US-listed Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals in Massachusetts.

On completion of the deal F-star’s CEO, Eliot Forster, will become president and CEO of the combined company which will trade as F-star Therapeutics and is expected to trade on NASDAQ – the US technology market – as FSTX. 
F-star – currently a private UK immuno-oncology biotech – has been pondering a US IPO for some time and the Transatlantic tie-up provides the ideal opportunity.

F-star anticipates raising additional capital at the closing of the proposed combination from current and potential new investors and the combined company expects to have at least $40 million in cash prior to closing as it bids to advance a potent pipeline of multiple clinical-stage immuno-oncology programs.

The transaction has been approved by both boards as well as F-star’s equity holders, who have signed the share exchange agreement. The combined company will be headquartered out of F-star’s existing facilities in Cambridge UK and Cambridge MA following closing, which is expected in late 2020.

Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for oncology and inflammatory diseases. The deal means Spring Bank, subject to stockholder approval, acquiring all the outstanding share capital of F-star in exchange for newly issued shares of Spring Bank in an all-stock transaction. 

Eliot Forster said: “We are truly excited about the opportunity created by this proposed combination to further advance our pipeline of novel tetravalent bispecific antibodies, which we believe will be able to address the limitations of current therapies in the field of immuno-oncology. 

“At F-star, we are pioneering a differentiated approach to bispecifics, using a natural human IgG1 antibody format that has already shown early signs of clinical activity, established manufacturing processes and promising safety.

“Currently, only a minority of patients realise long-lasting benefit from immunotherapy, so there remains a significant unmet medical need to develop more effective cancer treatment options. 

“We believe this transaction will provide the resources to accelerate F-star’s clinical development and generate stockholder value through a pipeline of novel therapies with the potential to improve the lives of patients with difficult to treat cancers.”

Cambridge UK life science representation on NASDAQ is growing. GW Pharmaceuticals and Bicycle Therapeutics are already doing well on the market. Abcam is exploring a US IPO, Horizon Discovery is heading for a joint  UK-US listing and Kymab wants to join them. 

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