LENZ Therapeutics, Graphite Bio in merger accord


Closely-held LENZ Therapeutics and Graphite Bio (NASDAQ:GRPH) entered into a definitive merger agreement to combine the companies in an all-stock transaction.

The combined company, which will focus on advancing LENZ’ lead assets for the treatment of presbyopia, is expected to have some $225 million of cash or cash equivalents at close, including $53.5 million from a concurrent PIPE financing.

“This pivotal change comes at an important time for the company as we gear up for the readout of the Phase 3 CLARITY trials in the second quarter of 2024,” Eef Schimmelpennink, LENZ’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Upon closing, which is expected in Q1 2024, the combined company is expected to trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LENZ.”

“We believe that a once-daily pharmacological eye drop that can effectively and safely improve near vision throughout the full workday, without the need for reading glasses, will be a highly attractive commercial product with an estimated U.S. market opportunity in excess of $3-billion,” Mr. Schimmelpennink added.