September 29, 2021

Drugmaker Valo Health Acquires Biotech Startup, Gaining Protein Technology

Valo Health LLC, a drugmaker valued at about $2.8 billion that has agreed to go...

Valo Health LLC, a drugmaker valued at about $2.8 billion that has agreed to go public by merging with a blank-check company, has acquired a biotechnology startup and diversified its pipeline.

Boston-based Valo has purchased Houston-based Courier Therapeutics Inc., gaining technology that could lead to protein treatments for cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Valo, which previously paid $5 million to fund research-and-development efforts at Courier, exercised its option to acquire the company for an additional $5 million, according to a spokeswoman. Valo also could pay up to $170 million in success-based payments tied to Courier’s lead drug, a cancer treatment, plus additional payments for other therapies developed with the Courier technology.

Valo, which had been focusing on a different class of drugs, small-molecule compounds, expects to go public this year after reaching a deal in June to combine with a special-purpose acquisition company, an empty shell formed to merge with a privately held company and take it public.

Biotechnology companies are capitalizing on rising investor interest in life sciences to boost their balance sheets and drug pipelines. U.S. and European biotechs secured $20.28 billion in venture capital in the first half, approaching the $24.61 billion they raised in all of 2020, according to Silicon Valley Bank.

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