Akili Raises $163M in ‘Blank Check’ Merger, Plans to Commercialize Digital Treatment for ADHD


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Diving brief:

  • Akili Interactive began trading on the Nasdaq on Monday after merging with a special-purpose acquisition company. The deal netted Akili more than $163 million, which he plans to use to commercialize his video game-based treatment for pediatric ADHD, he said in a press release August 19.
  • Akili’s stock opened at $36 on Monday, before falling below $20 in morning trading. The Boston-based company opened with a valuation of $448.56 million.
  • The funds combined with Akili’s cash should give the company enough cash to cover at least 24 months of operations. Other digital health companies, such as Pear Therapeutics, have trimmed staff as they seek to expand their runway, in the face of tougher market conditions.

Overview of the dive:

Akili merged with Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp. I, one of many special purpose acquisition companies created by Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist and former Facebook executive. Shareholders of the so-called blank check company approved the deal at a meeting on August 18.

Eddie Martucci, founder and CEO of Akili, will continue to lead the company, while Palihapitiya will chair its board of directors.

Akili currently has a product, a video game called EndeavorRx that is intended to improve attention function in children with ADHD. The company received de novo clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in 2020 and expects a full US launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

Akili plans to use a portion of the proceeds from the deal for marketing efforts, as well as developing other digital therapies for autism spectrum disorders, multiple sclerosis and major depressive disorder.

The company’s revenue has declined in recent years as it generated less funds from licensing deals and has yet to complete the commercial launch of its first product. According to a July 14 amended registration statement, Akili recorded revenue of $66,000 for the first quarter of 2022, down 44% from the prior year period. For the year 2021, the company recorded revenue of $538,000, compared to $3.94 million in 2020.

Akili also reported a net loss of $61.35 million in 2021, compared to a net loss of $25.65 million in 2020.


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