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Amicus Therapeutics Stock Rises; Sells Unit Stake in SPAC Deal

Amicus is selling a stake in its gene-therapy unit to ARYA Sciences Acquisition IV, a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by Perceptive Advisors.

Amicus Therapeutics  (FOLD) - Get Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. Report shares rose Thursday, after the biotech said it’s selling its gene therapy unit to ARYA Sciences Acquisition Corp. IV ARYD, a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by Perceptive Advisors.

The Philadelphia company will maintain a 36% stake in the new company, Caritas Therapeutics.

Caritas plans to trade on Nasdaq with the ticker SPES, which is Latin for "hope." 

Amicus will be the new company’s largest shareholder, it said. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Amicus will retain co-development and commercialization rights to the Fabry and Pompe gene therapy programs as well as negotiation rights on select future muscular dystrophy programs.

Amicus Chairman and CEO John F. Crowley will lead Caritas as chairman and CEO. 

Bradley Campbell Amicus's president and chief operating officer, will be named CEO of Amicus.

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Amicus expects the deal to close by early next year, and it anticipates the deal will enable it to turn profitable in 2023. It said it has $200 million in private investments from several investors.

Amicus stock recently traded at $9.74, up 0.8%. It has traded on Thursday up as much as 5.2% at $10.16. The shares have slumped 60% year to date.

SPACs, or blank-check companies, are formed for the express purpose of finding and merging with an operating partner. The idea is to speed the operating company to the public markets and avoid the extended process of a traditional initial public offering.

In other health news Thursday, Merck  (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report agreed to buy Acceleron Pharma  (XLRN) - Get Acceleron Pharma Inc Report in a deal that values the rare-drug specialist at around $11.5 billion.

Merck will pay $180 per share for Cambridge, Mass.-based Acceleron, a 39% premium to the group's early September share price.

The purchase adds Acceleron's pipeline of treatments for rare blood-related diseases.

Merck beat out interest from rival suitors such as Bristol-Myers Squibb  (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report, which owns an 11.5% stake in Acceleron.