The Merck Group, Amgen, Shionogi and Digital Garage-backed digital cognitive treatment developer will get a Nasdaq Capital Market listing through the deal.

US-based digital therapeutics developer Akili Interactive agreed yesterday to a $1bn reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp 1, marking exits for pharmaceutical firms Merck Group, Amgen and Shionogi & Co. The deal will benefit from $162m in private investment in public equity (PIPE) financing, consisting of $100m from Social Capital and $62m from drug developer PureTech Health, Suvretta Capital Management, Apeiron Investment Group, Temasek, Jazz Venture Partners, Omidyar Technology Ventires and Evidity Health Capital. Founded in 2011, Akili is developing digital treatments for cognitive impairments, ostensibly through a video game-like interface designed to activate specific neural systems in order to improve issues such as memory loss, poor concentration and difficulty in making decisions. It is developing treatments for other neuropsychiatric conditions including multiple sclerosis, depression and autism. Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp I floated on the Nasdaq Capital Market in a $220m initial public offering in July 2021 and the merged business will take its position. Akili is not the only digital therapeutics provider to go public in the past year. Pear Therapeutics, which focuses on conditions such as chronic insomnia and substance use disorders, agreed to a $1.6bn reverse merger with the publicly-listed Thimble Point Acquisition Corp in June 2021. Telecommunications and internet group SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $75m series C round for digital mental health treatment provider Big Health last week that included healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente’s corporate venturing unit, Kaiser Permanente Ventures. In October 2021, Click Therapeutics, which is developing digital treatments for cardiometabolic and autoimmune disorders, received $52m in a series B round featuring pharmaceutical firms Hikma and Sanofi, which invested through respective subsidiaries Hikma Ventures and Sanofi Ventures. Akili had itself raised $160m in series D equity and debt financing from investors including Merck Group, Amgen and Shionogi in May 2021. Neuberger Berman led the $110m equity part of the round and was also joined by Mirae Financial Asset Financial Group, Polaris Partners, Quad Investment Management, New Leaf Venture Partners, Baillie Gifford, Ladera Venture Partners, Temasek, Evidity Health Capital, Omidyar Technology Ventures, Fearless Ventures, Jazz Venture Partners and Dave Baszucki, with Silicon Valley Bank providing the debt portion. The company had closed a $68m series C round in 2018 featuring Amgen and Merck, through Amgen Ventures and M Ventures respectively, as well as Digital Garage, through subsidiary DG Incubation and the DG Daiwa Ventures vehicle it runs with Daiwa Securities. Temasek, Baillie Gifford, Canepa Advanced Healthcare Fund,…

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Fernando Moncada Rivera

Fernando Moncada Rivera is a reporter at Global Corporate Venturing and also host of the CVC Unplugged podcast.