Merck to acquire Pappas Capital portfolio company VelosBio in USD2.75bn deal

Pappas Capital's portfolio company, VelosBio Inc (VelosBio), is to be acquired by a subsidiary of Merck for USD2.75 billion in cash, subject to customary adjustments. 

The exit is amongst Pappas Capital’s most successful in its 25-plus-year history.

 
VelosBio is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to developing first-in-class cancer therapies targeting receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1). Pappas Capital first invested in VelosBio in 2018 as part of the Company’s USD58 million Series A financing. Encouraged by the strong potential of VelosBio’s novel therapies for difficult-to-treat cancers, Pappas Capital subsequently participated in the Company’s USD137 million Series B financing in July 2020.
 
Pappas Managing Partner Kyle Rasbach, PhD, PharmD. has served as a VelosBio Board Observer, providing hands-on support and guidance to the Company’s leadership team and Board of Directors on the development of VelosBio’s investigational candidate (VLS-101). VLS-101 is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting ROR1 that is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 and a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with haematologic malignancies and solid tumours, respectively.
 
Dr Rasbach says: “At Pappas, our focus has long been on identifying and executing on investment opportunities in innovative life science companies and partnering with exceptional teams to bring these technologies to market. VelosBio serves as an ideal example of our strategy at work, and we are thrilled to watch the Company embark on its next phase of growth as part of Merck.”
 
“This acquisition is a transformative event that will propel the advancement of VLS-101 as a potential new cancer treatment, and we are humbled to have worked closely with the VelosBio team to achieve this milestone. We look forward to continuing to build upon our investment track record by sourcing new opportunities that seek to not only provide superior results to our investors, but just as importantly, improve the lives of patients.”