REDWOOD CITY, Calif., & NEW YORK– Jasper Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on hematopoietic cell transplant therapies, and Amplitude Healthcare Acquisition Corporation (Nasdaq: AMHCU), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by affiliates of Avego Management, LLC and Metalmark Capital, today announced they have entered into a definitive business combination agreement. Upon closing of the transaction, anticipated to occur in the third quarter 2021, the combined company will be renamed Jasper Therapeutics, Inc., and its common stock is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “JSPR.”
“We would like to thank our financial partners at Amplitude and our prestigious group of investors,” said Bill Lis, executive chairman and CEO, Jasper Therapeutics. “This transaction provides significant capital to accelerate the development of our two innovative programs, Jasper’s first-in-class clinical stage anti-CD117 antibody transplant conditioning agent and in parallel our groundbreaking research stage Engineered Hematopoietic Stem Cell platform, both of which have the potential to transform the field and expand hematopoietic stem cell therapy cures to a far greater number of patients than is possible today.”
“At Jasper we are focused on a mission to cure several life threatening diseases such as blood cancers, sickle cell disease, severe combined immunodeficiency, and severe autoimmune diseases that affect a large number of patients who have historically been underserved by industry research and development, including infants, women, minorities and the elderly.”
In addition to the funds held in Amplitude’s trust account (approximately $100 million less any redemptions), the transaction also includes commitments for a $100 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) priced at $10.00 per share. Investors in the PIPE include lead investor Federated Hermes Kaufmann Funds and affiliates of the SPAC sponsor including Avego, Velan Capital and Metalmark, as well as Amgen, Christian Angermayer’s Apeiron Investment Group, Kingdon Capital Management, and Woodline Partners LP, in addition to existing Jasper investors Abingworth LLP, Qiming Venture Partners USA, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Roche Venture Fund and Alexandria Venture Investments, LLC. Jasper Therapeutics is expected to have cash resources of approximately $180 million at the closing of the transaction (less any redemptions from the Amplitude trust account).
The boards of directors of both Jasper Therapeutics and Amplitude have unanimously approved the proposed transaction. Completion of the transaction, which is expected in the third quarter of 2021, is subject to approval of Amplitude’s stockholders and the satisfaction or waiver of certain other customary closing conditions.
“Jasper Therapeutics has a strong management team with deep scientific expertise in the field and a track record developing and commercializing novel drugs, along with a pipeline that could make it a formidable leader in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for a broad range of indications,” said Vishal Kapoor, President of Amplitude. “When Jasper Therapeutics emerges as a public company, it will be positioned as a well-funded leader in hematopoietic stem cell conditioning and engineering, an area that has seen far too little innovation.”
Jasper Therapeutics expects to use the cash resources of the combined company following the merger and PIPE to support the clinical development of JSP191, a first-in-class humanized monoclonal antibody in clinical development as a conditioning agent that clears hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow, creating an empty space for donor or gene-corrected transplanted stem cells to engraft. To date, JSP191 has been evaluated in more than 90 healthy volunteers and patients. It is currently enrolling in two clinical trials for acute myeloid leukemia (AML)/ myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and is scheduled to begin enrollment in 3 additional studies in 2021 for severe autoimmune disease, sickle cell disease and Fanconi anemia patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation.
Jasper Therapeutics also expects to use the cash resources of the combined company to continue to advance its preclinical Engineered Hematopoietic Stem Cell (eHSCs) platform, which is designed to overcome key limitations of allogeneic and autologous gene-edited stem cell grafts. By using mRNA or DNA editing, Jasper Therapeutics can give the donor or gene-edited stem cells a proliferative and survival advantage over the patient’s existing stem cells. Preclinical data have demonstrated that Jasper’s eHSCs grow faster and outcompete normal hematopoietic stem cells and that they can be engineered to become resistant to inhibition by JSP191, suggesting that they could be combinable as a conditioning and therapeutic pair.